RIDDLE, is a thriller which was released in cinemas in the United States in January 2013, by all accounts the film did not do that well at box office, but there again I heard a number of reports that said it was a good movie and also as many saying it was not that special, unfortunately I have at this time not seen the film so I am unable to comment upon its credibility or its quality etc. However I am able to review the soundtrack for the movie, granted I can only do this on the basis of listening to the music as just music but I think I know a good score when I hear one. I have to say straight away I think that the composer Scott Glasgow has fashioned a work that is entertaining and also one that contains some great orchestration and dramatic writing. This is a darkly attractive score and I love the way in which the composer has constructed it. The soundtrack opens with THE PRELUDE which has a fairly light sounding introduction, strings and harp are utilized to create a mesmerizing and haunting foreword to the proceedings, but this introduction soon segues into something that is more sinister and shady in its atmospherics and mood. The thing is the composer seems to add nothing more to the mix instrument wise, by this I mean he seems to utilize the same instrumentation but configures and uses it in another way to create this darker mood, the composition swings from a fairly light piece into a brooding and richly murky composition, but the transition is seamless, in fact I went back over the cue a few times to listen because the change of atmosphere is so faultless, plus the composition switches again at the end of the cue into a lighter mood with a lullaby of sorts being played out underlined by strings. I also had a feeling of de-ja vu whilst listening to the opening as I thought I heard subtle references to Goldsmith and also some gentle nods of recognition to the work of Bernard Herrmann. Track 2, GHOST TOWN, certainly contains more darkness than light as we have no pleasantries in the way of tuneful melodies present here, but still the music for me remains interesting and enticing, it may not be filled with melodic thematic properties, but there is a certain attractiveness present, it draws the listener into a web of rich atmospherics that are foreboding in there construction and sound, these include cimbalom sounding instrumentation underlined by dark strings, with almost growling brass bringing up support and the added enhancement of a visceral string stab that momentarily slices through the low sounding strings causing the listener to sit up and take notice, the darkly intense atmosphere is further embellished by synthetic support that adds a certain unworldly air to the proceedings.
Track number three,SIGNS OF NATE, is performed predominantly by the string section with just a brief appearance of subdued percussion that acts as a punctuation at the cues opening, this composition too has a sound about it that can be likened to Herrmann, it is a fairly short lived cue but certainly makes its mark upon the listener. Vibrantly urgent strings build into a near furious crescendo that would not be out of place in any Hitchcock thriller, again I have to say that although the music is not melodic in its overall sound it still remains attractive in a strange atonal way. The composer has created a score that is certainly vibrant and for the most part is a dark and highly atmospheric work, but there are also a number of lighter moments that are delicate and subtle interludes sprinkled throughout the soundtrack which contain a high level of emotion or at least infuse emotion and poignancy into the work, these are relayed by a calming solo piano performance, heartrending violin solo and a there is also the use of a theme that has a music box sound to it that creates an atmosphere that is calming but at the same moment chilling, this I think lulls the listener into a false sense of security adding a slither of calm into a tense and abundantly fearsome sounding score. RIDDLE is a soundtrack that I would most definitely recommend, it is in my humble opinion in the same league as Herrmann’s VERTIGO and contains shades of Goldsmiths steamy scores for MALICE and BASIC INSTINCT.
Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Erika
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