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Soundtrack review: An inconvenient sequel: Truth to power (Jeff Beal – 2017)

Documentary

Soundtrack review: An inconvenient sequel: Truth to power (Jeff Beal – 2017)

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“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” is a 2017 American documentary film directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk about former United States Vice President Al Gore’s continuing mission to battle climate change. The sequel to An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the film addresses the progress made to tackle the problem and Gore’s global efforts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the landmark signing of 2016’s Paris Agreement. The score was written by Jeff Beal.

Jeff Beal and political scores…since his stellar work for the hit TV show “House of cards” Beal is becoming the go to guy for political stories, be it “The Putin Interviews” or this one. I still consider it politics because it involves Al Gore and the decisions to help battle climate change come from politics. I like the opening theme “Ten years later” because it’s gentle and makes me think of images of big glaciers floating with the water sounds and the horn section which evokes vast territories.

As I have often said, documentary scores are a bit restricted because much more than in the case of movies the viewer needs to be connected more to the story than to the music; music needs to be a neutral companion to the images, something to support and enhance the point the producers are trying to make. Here though the topic is nature, the Earth and the composer has the liberty to come up with a gorgeously reflective piece like “View from space”, where the gentle piano, the flute and the cello all quietly come together in a cue that melts my heart completely. This is not the type of cue you would find on the “House of cards” scores. There are quite a few moments throughout this score where Jeff Beal shows a tenderness that probably comes to balance all the darkness and perversion in the show he spends most of his time writing for. I find myself quite often during this score moved by the music, or with my mind and soul put at ease by how the ambient music flows. I am just in awe of those moments and grateful to Jeff Beal for writing food for soul. I will keep many of those cues close for times when I just need a break from thinking. from everything.

There are also some moments when I can’t help but think of “House of cards”: “Two feet a time” could very well have found itself on that score since the piano or the violin have the same sneaky movement. They are just little signature moments to remind me what composer I am listening to but other than that it’s a completely different soundscape, an ambient tapestry that is much more rewarding that I would have expected going into this score; Jeff Beal writes an ode to the beauty of nature in the universal language of music and the kind of score so immersive that I could imagine it in the context of an exploration computer game.

“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to power” is the kind of score that’s as enjoyable and rewarding as a standalone listen. Quiet and respectful, elegant and minimalistic it showcases once again Jeff Beal’s talent and keen ear for writing just what the story needs.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 25 / 65

Album excellence: 39%

Highlights:
Ten Years Later (Main Title Theme)
View From Space
Projected Sea Levels
Fear New Information
Good Time To Run Things
Tacloban
100 Year Storm
Discover Launch
Arc Of History

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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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