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Soundtrack review: Peppermint (Simon Franglen – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Peppermint (Simon Franglen – 2018)



“PEPPERMINT” is an action thriller which tells the story of young mother Riley North (Jennifer Garner) who awakens from a coma after surviving a brutal attack on her family that killed her husband and daughter. When the system frustratingly shields the murderers from justice, Riley sets out to transform herself from citizen to urban guerilla. Channeling her frustration into personal motivation, she spends years in hiding honing her mind, body and spirit to become an unstoppable force – eluding the underworld, the LAPD and the FBI- as she methodically delivers her personal brand of justice. Simon Franglen wrote the score.

Simon Franglen has a pretty eclectic resume, having worked with an array of pop and R&B artists including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Quincy Jones, Celine Dion and Madonna. He worked with numerous film composers including James Horner, John Barry, Howard Shore and Alan Silvestri. He created the innovative electronica for the scores for David Fincher’s seminal “Se7en” and Cameron’s “Titanic.” Franglen served as arranger for Horner’s scores for “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Avatar.” He also served as arranger on Thomas Newman’s scores for the James Bond films “Spectre” and “Skyfall.” He also finished the score for “The magnificent seven” once James Horner was gone.

Franglen’s electronic background is a good fit for a story like this; the movie is a dark action thriller and this is the recipe these movies have been using for years now; I don’t even know if it’s the producers who are asking for it or composers who choose the safe route but let’s say 80% percent of thriller scores sound about the same, with tense electronic purses, barely any melodies and a generally dark, murky atmosphere. Here Simon Franglen tries to break the mood with the occasional cello or piano motif which I welcome because they take the score out of that generic zone and give it a bit more depth.

The trouble with a score like “Peppermint” is that it doesn’t work very well outside the context of the movie; it manages to replicate the atmosphere of the film for the listener but it’s not a pleasant or comfortable atmosphere so listening to this score on its own is not rewarding. If you happen to be in this particular niche of film music fans who enjoy dark, quiet electronic thriller music no matter what you will get something from this experience, otherwise, it’s better to savour it only in the context of the movie.

Cue rating: 65 / 100

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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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