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Soundtrack review: Revolt (Bear McCreary – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Revolt (Bear McCreary – 2017)



“Revolt” is a 2017 Sci-Fi movie. Set in the war-ravaged African countryside, an American soldier (Lee Pace) and a French foreign aid worker (Bérénice Marlohe) team up to survive the alien onslaught. As they journey through the battlefield in search of refuge, their bond will be tested when the soldier discovers his true identity. The score was written by Bear McCreary, who this year is writing scores faster than I can review them.

I know Bear sometimes goes crazy in his studio with his rock music ideas and desire to experiment and have fun with his music but still I am surprised by how over the top the main theme from “Revolt” is; it’s as if the composer locked himself in the room, started playing with his gear and wrote a theme just for him. I think this main theme reminds me the most of his “Angry video game nerd” score a few years ago. I find myself giggling at this cue even if I don’t see how it fits with an alien invasion plot. Once this is out of the way the score goes into the solid action mode I was expecting. I think Bear McCreary read “alien” in the script and he didn’t need anything more to run with his musical experiments. There are reverbs, motor sounds, fast paced motifs and weird electronic vibes. Maybe this score itself was a bit of a revolt from the wild side of the composer against his recent run of melodic and emotional scores because the music here is raw and angry and all over the place.

Quite often in the past few years I have read film critics complaining about drony or exaggeratedly mechanical sounding scores and I disagreed because they were talking about scores that I liked, composed by people like Hans Zimmer or Trent Reznor; but I am getting the same feeling of rejection from this score. I just can’t connect with “Revolt”; the texture is uncomfortable and noisy for me and the score feels like a bit of a mess. There are electrifying action motifs that sometimes motivate me and make me turn the volume up high but overall I couldn’t find a cue to really love from beginning to end. The score lacks an identity and feels like the music to an auto TV show when they present the features of a car.

I am a big fan of Bear McCreary and having just listened to his marvellous “The walking dead” score just a week ago I just couldn’t get in the right mood to enjoy “Revolt”. I imagine that this kind of score makes more sense in the context of the movie when the action kicks in. As a standalone listen it was the most rewarding of experiences.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 0 / 52

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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