Score: A Film Music Documentary Review


A Fascinating But Chaotically Edited Documentary

If you’ve ever wondered who the musicians are that compose some of the most iconic musical pieces in film history, Score is the documentary for you. From John Williams and Hans Zimmer right through to recent experimental Oscar winner Trent Reznor, this documentary sheds some light on how these composers go about doing what they do and showcases them in all their glory in the studio. Although hearing the music and seeing the orchestra makes for a fascinating watch, Score does ultimately feel a bit lacking. It sporadically jumps between time periods and ideas without any cohesiveness gluing it all together that makes it feel a little too chaotic. Its still compelling stuff though, but the lack of structure ultimately means Score struggles more than it should.

The documentary begins with a basic overview of the importance of music in film before proceeding to show the very early origins of organ players in a theatre playing over black and white silent movies. Its here that Score appears to be a documentary that will follow a linear, progressive path through the history of musical scores and historical influences right up to modern day. Instead, the narrative focus jumps between different composers, a neurologist discussing the affect of music on the brain and then back to time periods again. The material shown here is still compelling stuff and the enthralling way each composer is showcased is very well presented but I can’t help thinking Score could have done with a touch more editing just to bring some much needed cohesiveness into the mix.

There is enough screen time given to each composer though and seeing snippets of iconic films and hearing the familiar themes and segments of music really hammer home the importance and profound affect this orchestral sound has on the film medium. There are a few interesting segments that do break down the process of writing the music and the thoughts around musically enhancing the film but its never elaborated on in much detail which is a bit of a shame.

Despite its editing issues and a lack of elaboration on some of the finer points of writing the music itself, Score: A Film Music documentary is a fascinating show that celebrates some of the best musicians in the industry. From Star Wars to Lord Of The Rings and even the Fast And Furious saga, there’s a lot to like here and seeing the way each composer’s style differs is really interesting. Whether it be John William’s melodic, catchy themes or Howard Shore’s intelligently written scores, there’s a respectful amount of time given to showcase each of these musical legends. Whilst it would have been nice to see more detail around the compositions and getting to the final product, it’s not a deal breaker and if you’re a fan of film, I strongly recommend checking out this documentary which is as fascinating as it is enjoyable.

  • Verdict - 7/10