Soundtrack review: Frank vs God (Jonathan Beard – 2017)
In FRANK VS. GOD, David Frank (Henry Ian Cusick) thinks he’s lost everything. Unable to move past the grief of losing his wife, this former lawyer has all but given up. That is, until a tornado not only destroys his house, but takes from him the last real connection to the world, his beloved dog Brutus. When the insurance company deems the loss an “act of God,” David is desperate, and is convinced someone has to pay. He decides to serve God… with a lawsuit. David’s provocative and clever legal antics turn the courtroom into a riveting spectacle as he cross-examines representatives of the world’s religions. But when he meets his match—charming and intelligent defense lawyer Rachel (Ever Carradine)—sparks fly and his assumptions are challenged. David’s act of desperation just might be his salvation. Jonathan Beard wrote the score.
It’s funny when I saw the title of the movie I was sure it was metaphorical but as it turns out, it’s not. The beginning of the score is more ironic than dramatic. After a playful first couple of cues the music gets downright groovy in “You’ve been served” and I half expect Jim Carrey to star in this movie. I like the combination of electronic and symphonic as string motifs find their place among electronic beats and electric guitar motifs. Same with “Then God should pay for it!” which is more sarcastic than dramatic. The cello takes centre stage in “David’s wife” which is heard as if from far away, over a sea. This mix of styles keeps the score moving and agitated as I imagine it mimics the inner turbulence of the main character; I hear that distinctively in “Act of God?!” a cue that unravels from start to finish in bits and pieces of different instruments. I like how the “Tornado” cue is constructed with a swirling string section that builds up and hacks away and gives me the feeling of a tornado.
I haven’t seen the movie so I can’t comment on its tone but the score has enough light moments; I can’t get a clear idea of the general mood only from the music as there are both cues like the beautiful and emotional string piece “God is justice” and quirky experimental cues like “Attorney / client privilege” which is clearly suited for a comedy. This duality hurts the standalone listening experience a bit as it doesn’t get me to fully care and get invested in the music. I cannot appreciate “Frank vs God” as a full story but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have cues that I like; there are ambient moments that I enjoy (like the beginning of “I believe in…) and every time I hear how the strings are played I change my favourite cue from the score.
Overall “Frank vs God” is an uneven score but maybe it’s supposed to be; I will reserve further thoughts once I hear it in the context of the movie. Musically it was a mixed affair but I did find enjoyable moments in it especially in the final few cues, the ones where the piano and the strings created an emotional or reflective mood.
Cue rating: 86 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 19 / 40
Album excellence: 40%
You’ve Been Served
God Is Justice
Clown out of My Courtroom
Rachel and David
Closing Arguments / No Further Questions
Are You Sure You’re Ready?