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Soundtrack review: Thumper (Pedro Bromfman – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Thumper (Pedro Bromfman – 2017)

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“Thumper” is a 2017 crime movies. Teens in a low income neighbourhood are lured into working for a violent and dangerous drug dealer. When a new girl harbouring a dark secret arrives in town, their relationship jeopardises everything. Pedro Bromfman wrote the score and he is no stranger to the movie drug world as he created the sound of “Narcos”.

The opening cue “Look who it is” is right up my minimalistic and ambient alley; I just love the quiet and reflective mood of this cue, the subtle metallic taste and the quietly menacing darkness. If the story at hand is dark I am all for that darkness transpiring in the score so I can experience the nuances of the movie even without seeing it. As the opening cue builds up into a suffocating, “Sicario” like peace I already feel connected to the standalone listening experience. I like the electronic sound of “WadUp Kat?”; in a score like this, which will have no clear themes and will be mostly textural, the atmosphere is all that counts. Listening to a score like this out of context is risky if the music is too quiet or too incoherent so the composer’s job is twice as hard. I am satisfied to find cues like this or like “I waited for you” to give me my ambient fix; the latter is a melancholic piano piece that actually makes me thing of the way Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross write film music.

The other risk with such a score is that for once the longer cues will not work just as well; once again my worries are cast away as “Gina & Kat”, the longest piece from “Thumper”, keeps the tension running high and has me on the edge of my seat. I feel just as involved as I am when watching a suspenseful scene on TV and even if the music is quiet, it’s relentless and palpable. Pedro Bromfman knows how to write suspense and as I listen to “Sneaking in” I remember how much more meaningful his music made some of the best moments of “Narcos”.

“Thumper” is the kind of score that will not be comfortable to listen to for everyone; if you didn’t enjoy the standalone listening experience of scores like “Narcos” or “Sicario” you might not find a lot of connections here. Fortunately for me I do like my dark suspenseful compositions, the thicker the better. I like this visceral texture, I like the electronic sounds that mimic adrenaline, heart beats and a permanent focus; and if the moments when the tension subsides are treated with such ambient care and turn into reflective melodic gems (just listen to “Are you going to help me?”) the experience is complete and rewarding for me.

Cue rating: 84 /100

Total minutes of excellence: 11 / 32

Album excellence: 34%

Highlights:
Look Who It Is
I Waited for You
Overdose
Are You Going to Help Me?
Wire Off

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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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