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Soundtrack review: Broadchurch – The final chapter (Olafur Arnalds – 2017)


Soundtrack review: Broadchurch – The final chapter (Olafur Arnalds – 2017)


“Broadchurch” is a British television crime drama broadcast on ITV. It was created and written by Chris Chibnall and produced by Kudos Film and Television, Shine America, and Imaginary Friends. The first series focused on the murder of an 11 year old boy while the second one dealt with the trial. The third and final series of the British crime drama Broadchurch began airing on the ITV broadcast network in the United Kingdom on 27 February 2017. Set three years after the previous series, the eight-episode series focuses on the sexual assault of a local middle-aged woman in the fictional, close-knit coastal town of Broadchurch in Dorset, England. Olafur Arnalds wrote the music and I loved the first score that was released for season 1.

The Nordic (and especially Icelandic) soundscape is very special to me. I love reflective and minimalistic music and I am not afraid of sadness and darkness and this is exactly what I get from a guy like Olafur Arnalds. His music is quiet and mournful and fits the endlessness of the Broadchurch landscape with that “end of the world” type beach that features on the cover of the album. I love the gentle strokes of the piano and the soft touches of the bow on the strings, both of them played as if not to disturb. His music is respectful and I always find a way to scatter my thoughts in this broad and comfortable net he lays inside me. I love to get lost in an album like this one and just like a balloon for me it flies away from the story it was written too and takes me with it. I know I need to come back to Earth but this flow of hopeful sadness just hypnotizes me.

A lightning breaks this dreamy state as the electric sounds of “Re-enactment” throw spears in my heart. I listen to this cue and I can imagine the pain of having to go through a tragedy again. I have the strange feeling that this small town lives inside its own sad bubble that nothing can change or penetrate; inside that bubble the dark feelings and emotions travel undisturbed, in their slow rhythm because they know nothing can get it. Arnalds takes his time and is very careful in the use of instruments because time stops there and it’s all about investigating and looking at every small detail; the music tells me this whilst in the same time never letting me forget that what happens here is heartbreaking and irreversible.

For me the best music and actually the only way I can appreciate music is if it makes me feel. Music is nurture for the soul and a score like this one makes me want to hug my loved ones very tightly and never let them go. “Broadchurch: The final chapter” is a universal confession of love and, for me, the musical expression of that feeling I get when I need to spend time away from my lover or from my daughter; it’s that sadness of knowing I will miss precious time even if I know everything is alright and I will be in that moment again. The piano motifs fall like quiet and gentle rain showers and I can’t get enough of them.

Love, regret, heartbreak and, above all, beauty hide beneath a soft musical blanket that Olafur Arnalds masterfully weaves. You need a certain state of mind, reflective and opened to soul searching to fully enjoy this album but if you let it in it will leave a lasting impression. The heaviness of the story in the show is easier to take in with music like this.

Cue rating: 96 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 37 / 46

Album excellence: 80%


I Could Hear Water



The Final Chapter

Right By You

I Could Have Stopped It

Ellie’s Theme

I Felt Guilty


Say It Was Me

Not Alone

Take My Leave Of You (feat. Arnór Dan)

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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