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Soundtrack review: Calibre (Anne Nikitin – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Calibre (Anne Nikitin – 2018)



“Calibre” is a 2018 British thriller film written and directed by Matt Palmer. After a debut at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, it was released on 29 June 2018 on Netflix. An aggressive Edinburgh businessman, Marcus, takes his friend Vaughn, whose fiancée is newly pregnant, on a hunting trip to a remote village in the Scottish Highlands. Vaughn has never been hunting before, and an accident leads to increasing danger and compounded problems. Anne Nikitin wrote the score.

2018 has truly been the year of girl power in film music and I couldn’t be happier to see all these talented female composers getting the recognition they deserve. It’s time for me to get familiar with yet another name and it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes for me to get sucked into that dense, thick Scottish highlands atmosphere with somber and sparse string motifs. As always when I am listening to a score for a movie set in Scotland or Ireland there’s a tiny hope that I might hear some Celtic influenced music. Even if I don’t, the way those strings are tortured and played is meaningful enough to make me connect with this score right from the start. I can almost see the clouds and the mist as I listen to this dark and elegant music. I get the feeling of being isolated, as the music is sparse and minimalistic and makes me feel as if everything around me is exaggerated. The spacious way this score is written lets my thoughts complete the story. I also hear a motif that sounds like wolves howling in the distance, midway trough “Isolation”.

I like the mystery in this score, the different noises and echoes that come through that musical mist, be they a far away female voice humming, a cello motif or a percussion section. Everything sounds as if it comes through a filter; the music is quiet and if you are not into suspenseful minimalism the standalone listening experience might get frustrating. The score is written to enhance the poignant and uncomfortable atmosphere of the movie and for me it works on its own as well. I like how the cello sounds, I like the soft texture and Anne Nikitin’s composition actually makes me want to see the movie and explore it in context as well.

“Calibre” is a textural score that manages to evoke the fear and isolation that define this story. Those uncertain cello motifs that break the tension, sometimes melodic, other times dissonant and they way they are combined together make this composition deliver a quiet and decisive menace. The music is in the same time minimalistic and oppressive. Anne Nikitin is definitely a name to watch after the deceitfully hypnotic way in which she dealt with this story.

Cue rating: 79 / 100

A Forest Grew

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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