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Soundtrack review: Disconnect (Max Richter – 2011)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Disconnect (Max Richter – 2011)



“Disconnect” is a 2012 American drama film directed by Henry Alex Rubin and stars an ensemble cast, which includes Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Andrea Riseborough, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Thieriot and fashion designer Marc Jacobs in his debut acting role. The film explores how people experience the negative sides of modern communication technology by following three interconnecting stories. Max Richter wrote the score.

I have made it my mission to listen to any composition by Max Richter, be it classical, film or TV, ever since I heard the first minutes from his score for the first season of “The leftovers”; the music left a permanent mark inside me and I still count that as one of the most intense and lasting first impressions I ever got from a composer. For me Max Richter is one of the most gifted piano players and composers in the world and he enchants me and moves me with his music every chance he gets. Now I am listening to this score from 2012 and the first cue already has me in a state where I could me mopped away with a cloth: “On the nature of daylight” is one of his most stunningly beautiful and touching pieces but I already knew that since this is the poignant start and end of my favourite movie from 2016 “Arrival”. Johan Johannsson wrote that score but the director used this magnificent Max Richter composition to begin and close his wonderfully emotional story. “On the nature of daylight” transcends film music; it actually transcends music itself and goes somewhere much more spiritual and intimate. It really is a piece of music that will last forever. Where can he go from here? If he starts a score with a cue like this what else does he have in store? Is it even possible to have something better?

Probably not but he can write something different and come back from the astral plain right into the plot of the movie; the story is about technology, fast moving, connections or lack there of so the score changes its pace to colder and more alert during enough moments and I imagine those are the moments when the on screen images need to take precedence. Luckily Max Richter has his own path and comes up also with some splendid reflective ambient cues like “Zero balance”. This sounds plays very well with the idea of mystery and incognito. Everything makes sense to me in the music, from the frantic pace to the quiet moments and I am enjoying the music differently as I am still marked by that opening cue.

Even without that opening “Disconnect” would be a very good thriller score and one of the few where Max Richter leaves out the orchestral for a more modern and electronic sound. I like this side of his music as well and he proves with this score that he can be assigned different kind of projects as well and he can expand his musical world. Me, I am all in especially since I know that he will always find inspiration and place to write piano cues inside a score no matter the story, just like he did here with “Written in the sky” and “Unwritten”. It’s like all of a sudden he goes to a special place where nothing else matters, other than what he feels inside and wants to put into music; the story doesn’t matter, the context doesn’t matter. Only his talent and love for the music.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 48

Album excellence: 60%

On The Nature Of Daylight
Love Slave
Zero Balance
Clone the Hard Drive
The Report
Written On The Sky
I Will Come and Get You
The Gun
The Swimmer

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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  1. Julius Cruickshank 13th December 2017

    Fully agree. Have loved this soundtrack since I first saw the movie.


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