Soundtrack review: Manhunt: UNABOMBER (Gregory Tripi – 2017)
“Manhunt: UNABOMBER” tells the dramatic and gripping true story of the FBI’s hunt for the Unabomber, the deadliest serial bomber in history. The story focuses on FBI Agent and Criminal Profiler Jim “Fitz” Fitzgerald (played by Sam Worthington of Avatar and Hacksaw Ridge), who pioneered the use of forensic linguistics to identify and ultimately capture the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski (Paul Bettany, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers series and A Beautiful Mind). This series features both Bettany and Worthington’s first major leading roles on U.S. television. As a fresh faced Criminal Profiler and the newest member of the Unabom Task Force (UTF), Fitz faced an uphill battle not just against the Unabomber – one of the most sophisticated and brilliant criminals in history – but also against the bureaucracy of the UTF itself as his maverick ideas and new approaches were dismissed by the system. Gregory Tripi wrote the score and he’s one of the most exciting composers to listen to for me since everything I’ve heard for him has gotten a nearly perfect score from me.
The opening cue “I want you to think about the mail” is an electronic thriller piece with a cello undertone that sits right at the edge of darkness without actually getting there. Gregory Tripi’s music is usually deeply ambient and often with that sweet retro synth sound but this time since the TVs how focuses a lot on the investigative part, the cat and mouse game, the outsmarting of your opponent, the music needs to have a more alert and suspenseful sound. I welcome “The manifesto” which the composer stated he felt needed to be treated as a character itself and given a proper theme because this is where the electronic sound gets closer to my comfort zone and this is what I like about this score, how Gregory Tripi manages to find the right balance between what this TV show needed as a soundscape and the music he loves to write.
There are moments that fit greatly in context but will turn a lot of people off in the standalone listen, moments like “Fruit of the poisonous tree” which is a disturbed industrial piece, not at all melodic or warm. It’s a rare moment though as most of “Manhunt: UNABOMBER” stays in that alert electronic thriller sound, often light and inviting. There are also occasional cues like “I wasn’t ready” when my ambient melodic bone is tickled and these are the pieces that make the score stick for me, that extra touch that helps me enjoy a composition more outside the context of the movie or TV show. All in all this is a score that works well both as a support for the visual story and as a rewarding music album.
Cue rating: 79 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 12 / 53
Album excellence: 23%
We Need A Guilty Plea
I Wasn’t Ready
My Very First Experiment
My Life Wasn’t Supposed To Go Like This