Film scores

Soundtrack review: Triple 9 (Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, Claudia Sarne and Bobby Krilc – 2016)0

triple9
“Triple 9” isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like uncomfortable industrial music, you will not get much from this score.

“Triple 9” is a 2016 American crime thriller drama film directed by John Hillcoat and written by Matt Cook. The film stars an ensemble cast featuring Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Norman Reedus, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, Clifton Collins, Jr., Michael K. Williams, Teresa Palmer, and Gal Gadot. A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town. The score is written by Atticus Ross and, as usual, any composer from Team NIN is top priority for me. Leopold Ross, Claudia Sarne and Bobby Krilc are also credited.

As always with an Atticus Ross score, it will not be for everyone. His disturbing beats dissolve my hopes for a quiet ambient score and might repel fans of traditional, melodic film music. But I am in and I can’t wait to hear how this one develops. I love the title of the opening cue “Ticking Glock”. The composer wastes no times in throwing us in the middle of a visceral, pulsating chase. This is the kind of cue I like to hear and maximum volume and let it drive my adrenaline up. It’s the kind of sensation I got before from certain Junkie XL or Joseph Trapanese scores.

Once that neurotic opening is out of the way the ambient mist I so love comes in play in “The drop”. This is what I came for and this is what I love the most about Atticus Ross’ music. It’s just a small break because the heavy industrial sound comes back with a vengeance. This score is dark and makes me think of a heart beating chaotically while the person it belongs to runs and tries to hide from something. The music gets to me and makes me feel uneasy. This is the whole point of the score I guess. I imagine the movie is quite intense and claustrophobic. I feel like I need to escape from the twisted and narrow corridors of Atticus Ross’ world. But I can’t escape. Once I’m inside this score I need to fight the ghosts of NIN and Radiohead and avoid the other traps and turn the volume even higher.

“Triple 9” isn’t for everyone. If you don’t like uncomfortable industrial music, you will not get much from this score. If you do and you also like atmospheric music and are familiar with this composer’s style you will discover yet another piece in the musical puzzle of Atticus Ross. For me it was an enjoyable experience and moments like “Michael’s death” really hit the sweet spot.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 23 / 44

Album excellence: 53%

Highlights:

The Drop

The Butcher’s Shop

Some Hope

Heist # 2

Michael’s Death

Probably a Robbery

Mysteron

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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