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Soundtrack review: An actor prepares (Tony Morales – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: An actor prepares (Tony Morales – 2018)



“An Actor Prepares” is a comedy film directed by Steve Clark and written by Clark and Thomas Moffett. The film stars Jeremy Irons, Jack Huston, Mamie Gummer, Ben Schwartz, Matthew Modine, and Frankie Faison. After a near death experience, Atticus Smith (Oscar-winner, Jeremy Irons), a world-famous actor renowned for his drinking as much as his acting, must drive cross country to his favorite daughter’s wedding with a son, Adam (Jack Huston, ‘Ben-Hur’), who once testified against him. More than endure the journey, Adam and Atticus must survive each other. Tony Morales wrote the score.

From what I gather this is essentially a road movie, one of those self discovery lessons and over the years these types of stories have come to have a particular sound that keeps coming back because it works. The opening cue “Presenting Atticus Smith” is quintessential road movie music, a simple, light guitar melody that marks the beginning of a journey. The next cue “Red carpet” changes the mood a bit with a more urgent instrumental sound but it’s just an exception as the light melodic guitar sound returns. The composer played most of the guitars himself for this score and I am happy that he decided to add some string motifs to enhance the emotional content of his score. It’s a bonus for a good vibes score that worked well without it as well.

With a score like this, for me the it’s the shorter the better; this kind of light music is enjoyable as long as it doesn’t overstay its welcome and the sweet spot is at about 20 minutes. “An actor prepares” stops just short of a quarter of an hour fragmented in sone minute cues and with those small variations, like the strings or the bass guitar that gets a bit more frantic, more infectious towards the end of the score and the surprisingly emotional evocative vocal passage in “Hey! I love you” works very well outside the context of the movie. For once a score like this presents motifs that I would have been interested in hear explored more.

Cue rating: 68 / 100

Highlights: Hey! I love you

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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