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Soundtrack review: Fifty shades freed (Danny Elfman – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Fifty shades freed (Danny Elfman – 2018)



“Fifty Shades Freed” is a 2018 American erotic romantic drama film directed by James Foley and written by Niall Leonard, based on the novel of the same name by E. L. James. It is the third and final installment in the Fifty Shades film series after Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) and Fifty Shades Darker (2017). The film stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, respectively, and follows the newlywed couple as they must deal with the sins of their past when Ana’s former boss (Eric Johnson) begins to stalk her. Danny Elfman wrote the score.

We are finally at the end of the trilogy and I don’t mean this as any disrespect towards the movies or story but towards the scores which I consider to be Danny Elfman’s lowest musical points; he is such a legendary composer and his fantasy scores have been amazing for 30 years but he should have just stayed away from this franchise as it didn’t need his talents for the boring generic background music the director asked for. This paragraph sums up my expectations from this score but the completist in me wants to review it as well. I am surprised to actually be enjoying a bit the opening cue “Freed”; it is the quiet melodic texture I expected but with some warm melodic inserts that are pleasant to listen to. There is actually a bit of drama in this opening cue, shows a bit more effort from the composer.

I think for this movie Danny Elfman decided to wake up and at least ad some melody and some emotion; there is no trace of anything steamy or seductive in the music but at least in “Freed” there are some piano and guitar motifs that make sense on their own outside the context of the movie and make for a pleasant listening experience; I enjoy the reflective darkness of “Anna wakes” and cues like this make the score pass faster and easier than I expected. This doesn’t mean that “Fifty shades freed” is a great score just that I found much more enjoyable moments than I expected and that the composer’s decision to go deeper into the emotion, even with minimalistic generic music, was a good one.

“Fifty shades freed”, while the worst movie of the franchise, ends up as my favourite score from the trilogy; it didn’t take much, just a bit more attention from Danny Elfman and a touch of emotion that made the cues feel more than just cardboard renditions. A bit of a cello, a dripping piano and the music suddenly made sense. A cue like “The envelope” made the whole album worth listening to.

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 6 / 43

Album excellence: 13%

Anna Wakes
The Envelope

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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