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Soundtrack review: The worthy (Joseph Bishara – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The worthy (Joseph Bishara – 2018)

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The post-apocalyptic thriller “The Worthy” was one of the largest Arabic genre film productions in the Middle East,After the vast majority of the world’s water supply is lethally contaminated, a small group of survivors who have taken refuge near a rare clean water source are thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse and must defend their lives from infiltrators who aren’t what they seem. Joseph Bishara, the master of horror film music, wrote the score.

Whenever a Bishara score shows up it’s money in the bank that the atmosphere will be dark, solid and creepy. This is not a horror movie per se, it’s a post apocalyptic thriller where the world itself is broken and terrifying without even needing specifics. The opening cue “The worthy” takes it easy with a misty and mysterious tone that is not yet scary. I like that it borders with ambient music. I also like that Bishara takes a particular bit of the post apocalyptic / desolate thriller sound that I like the most, the lonely solo cello motif and infuses it in his score. “Baited lady” actually makes me think of the way James Newton Howard wrote music for M. Night Shyamalan music, a mix of tender melodic and quietly creepy. It’s also a blend of crackling electronic music and orchestral that works very well.

It is amazing to me how Joseph Bishara can make a cold, emotionless scary cue like “blade unworthy” work right next to warm, melodic ambient gems like “may he rest” and “factory burial” ; they are part of the same score, part of the same world, part of the same atmosphere and yet one is terribly uncomfortable and the net one is tender as to make me misty eyed and they are written in the same basic sound, with just a different focus on instruments. I believe this world, I believe these emotions and I believe that the composer is telling me.

I would describe “The worthy” as a dense, hypnotic score with just enough of an electronic touch to make it count as an ambient composition and with a complex instrumental web that pulls me in and doesn’t let me go until the entire album isn’t over. There are cues where orchestral and electronic come over each other in a pulsating duet or when the tortured strings hack away at a suffocating pace, all of which adds to the sensation of a thick, robust score from a composer well aware of his craft and chalk full of self confidence. Joseph Bishara has created his own sound, his own special atmosphere which he controls and expands with every new score and “The worthy” is just another reason to count him as one of the best composers working today.

Cue rating: 89 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 21 / 44

Album excellence: 48%

Highlights:
baited lady
may he rest
factory burial
Worthy separation
step forth
life in balance
the Seer
who is Worthy

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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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