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Soundtrack review: Masterminds (Geoff Zanelli – 2016)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Masterminds (Geoff Zanelli – 2016)


“Masterminds” is a 2016 American crime comedy film based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo Robbery in North Carolina. Directed by Jared Hess and written by Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Emily Spivey, the film stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis. The Loomis Fargo Bank Robbery was a robbery of $17.3 million ($25.5 million today) in cash from the Charlotte, North Carolina, regional office vault of Loomis, Fargo & Co. on the evening of October 4, 1997, by vault supervisor David Scott Ghantt, his married girlfriend Kelly Campbell (a former Loomis co-worker), bobersers, his wife Michelle Chambers and four other co-conspirators. Geoff Zanelli wrote the score.

For me comedy scores are the hardest to review, if they are goofy and silly. I just have a hard time connecting. But this is Geoff Zanelli and there’s a heist theme so…fingers crossed. It is indeed the heist element that helps me have a better listening experience of this score. The music is light and there’s that guitar that’s always present in comedy scores but the composer keeps it interesting with sudden bursts of loud music and motifs that make me think of car getaways. The funky bass accompanies the heist cues which are fun enough.

There is enough variation in this score to keep it interesting. There’s the Caribbean sunset swaying of “What if I went with you” and the flamboyant pace of “17. Million. Dollars!”. What this score does very well is show me what kind of movie I am dealing with. I find myself smiling when I listen to some cues imagining what might be going on on screen. For sure this is not an album I would come back to but I didn’t mind listening to it once.

I imagine the music works very well in the context of the movie. It’s a functional composition that aims to enhance the feeling of watching the film. Maybe I would have wanted more from the chase cues because those should be able to work standalone as well. Luckily I did find a hidden gem in this score, the Western theme for “McKinney” which brought all sorts of nostalgia with the trumpet and frantic mood. This one was right up my alley and stands out from the rest of the album.

If you enjoy some light and fun background  listening this score will work. I am waiting to hear it in context as well.

Cue rating: 63 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 0 / 35

Album excellence: 0%

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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