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Soundtrack review: Game night (Cliff Martinez – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Game night (Cliff Martinez – 2018)

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Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the action comedy GAME NIGHT, in theaters nationwide on February 23, stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks, arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So, when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game…right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this game—nor Brooks—are what they seem to be. Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they’ve ever had…or, it’s game over. Cliff Martinez wrote the score .

When I think Cliff Martinez I think hallucinations, neons, drugs, violence, never comedy so i was very curious about this one. The plot of this movie reminds me of a comedy from last year, “The house”. The score opens with “Let’s get drunk”, a Cliff Martinez acid trip, pulsating and addictive, bordering on the industrial. As the score progresses I recall that the composer said that the first thing the directors told him was “Don’t try to be funny. That’s our job. Just be yourself”. Fortunately he took that literally as the score sounds like the dark and neurotic musings of vintage Cliff Martinez. He released another score “Den of thieves” in the same time as this one but they couldn’t be more different as the melodic warmth of Den is replaced by the cold EDM like rhythms of this one. I will take electronic music and Cliff Martinez music anyway I can so I am still enjoying the music, at a very loud volume.

“Game night” is a darker score than I would have expected, even from Martinez. This has happened before in comedy scores in the past couple of years as the directors and writers concerned themselves with the laughs while the composer only dealt with the more serious elements of the movie; it’s the case here as the entire composition is an electrifying, neon flickering, underground club like texture that will do just fine with electronic and industrial music fans. I like the aggression in the sound, I like the frantic rhythm and I like that this sounds like a Cliff Martinez score, I almost expect to see Ryan Gosling pop up in the movie when I listen to a cue like “Oh my God I shot you”.

“Game night” is yet another brick in the musical wall that Cliff Martinez builds and one more trademark composition from him. His fans will no be disappointed.

Cue rating: 85 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 16 / 45

Album excellence: 36%

Highlights:
Let’s Get Drunk
Oh My God I Shot You
Bastien
Officer Down
All We Did Is Eat the Pellets
We’re Not Digging Thru Your Feces
Ryan Spots the EggRyan Spots the Egg

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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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