Film scores

Soundtrack review: A conspiracy of faith (Nicklas Schmidt – 2011)

conspiracy

Based on the acclaimed crime novel series by Jussi Adler-Olsen, Zentropa’s Department Q series is one of the biggest hits of Scandinavian cinema in recent years. The Department Q series stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas as Inspector Carl Mørck and Fares Fares as Assad, two investigators whose job is to re-investigate cold cases whenever a new evidence turns up. In “A Conspiracy of Faith”, a mysterious message in a bottle reveals the truth about religious fanatics kidnapping children and the reasons why parents don’t report the incidents. The score was written by Nicklas Schmidt.

I’ve noticed a sort of pattern in the “Department Q” series music, regardless of the different composers who contributed: the character themes are very different from the music that plays scenes or moments in the stories. Here as well among the regular investigative cues like “A new case” or
“Message in a bottle” rises a warm and emotional piano driven character theme for “Elias and Rakel”. It’s as if the world just stops so I could take notice in the characters before continuing its perpetual flow.

I like quiet and reflective scores; I could say that they are my favorites or that I listen to those most often. “A conspiracy of faith” falls into this category but there are moments when the music doesn’t stand very well on its own. Cues like “The kidnap” or “Trygve” seem to need the on screen images to work better, to feel more complete. Whenever the composer goes deeper with his music, like the end of “The boathouse” or the intriguing “A religious man” I can connect very well with the score.

Nicklas Schmidt is very efficient in creating a dark and muddy atmosphere. I don’t feel comfortable listening to the music and this means he serves the movie very well. “Serial killer” is dark and haunting and I get chills down my spine when listening to it. I would have enjoyed if the entire theme stayed like that and not turn into a more alert piece of music midway. Once again it’s probably what the movie needed.

The score for “A conspiracy of faith” stays in the background, in the shadows. I sometimes lose its trail and when I return the music is still there. The music doesn’t hold me there all the time but when I listen to pieces like “You promised!” I get a renewed sense of faith in this score. Overall though this is the sort of composition hat works way better in context than as a standalone listen. What I am left with is a beautiful piano main theme.

Cue rating: 79 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 6 / 64

Album excellence: 10%

Highlights:

Elias And Rakel

You Promised!

A Conspiracy Of Faith

 

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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