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Soundtrack review: Atone (Sid de la Cruz – 2019)

Action Film scores

Soundtrack review: Atone (Sid de la Cruz – 2019)


Soundtrack review: Atone (Sid de la Cruz – 2019)

“Atone” is a 2019 drama.Former special ops soldier, Laura Bishop, shows up for work at the largest church in America and is forced to take down a team of hijackers when she learns her daughter is trapped inside. Sid de la Cruz wrote the music.

“Atone” is a short score, some 25 minutes so this means the composer wastes no time in getting into the action. “Hijacking” is the kind of rich and melodic action cue that gets me engaged in this score right away and I recognize some “Transformers” influences in it which can only be a bonus for me. The next cue goes at the other end of the melodic spectre as it is an emotional, almost heartbreaking piece that makes me think of the end credits of a drama. I like that Sid de la Cruz didn’t hold back and mixed the electronic motifs with orchestral motifs that enrich the music and ad that extra layer I am always looking for; I am a fan of electronic music and sound design but I enjoy the music even more when there’s a warm orchestral core in it.

I haven’t seen this movie but the score leaves little doubt as to how tense and suspenseful it is. The cues are short and intense and the runtime fortunately leaves no place for filler music so each piece means something and catches my attention. Even the simpler cues like “Who do I have the pleasure of speaking to” make me imagine a scene that would keep me on the edge of my seat. There’s heavy, pounding percussion in this score and in some moments it’s actually spectacular. Again, I am a fan of this kind of percussion in film scoring, the Junkie XL kind and I can imagine myself adding a cue like “Jump off” to my running playlists to get me motivated.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear what Sid de la Cruz was able to do with such a short amount of runtime. He injected each cue with a depth I did not fully expect, be it emotional or instrumental. I am always happy to hear a composer treat his craft, a score, like this and make sure that what transpires to the listener is that whoever wrote this cared about the film, the music and composed accordingly.

For me “Atone” was like a chocolate egg with a surprise inside: I had the energy raising chocolate coating with the almost trailer like intesity of the action cues, a lot of them worthy of being played over the end titles of a movie and also the surprising orchestral, emotional moments inside. This is also in a way a full advertisment of the range Sid de la Cruz has, from action to drama to whimsical comedy (Life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey”. I’ve said it before, I can’t wait to see him land a bigger project, regardless of the genre. There are definitely much less satisfying ways to spend 25 minutes than listening to “Atone”. I recommend it.

Cue rating: 82 / 100

Run out of building
Jump off
The escape
Ticking time bomb
Life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey

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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