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The top five criminally underrated film scores

From Sideways to Manhunter, here are five soundtracks that deserve a lot more love

MANHUNTER (Michel Rubini) – Michael Mann may have tapped the highly sought-after German electronic group Tangerine Dream to score his first two features – 1981’s Thief and 1983’s The Keep – but he opted for another composer to score his 1986 precursor to the Hannibal Lector mythos. Michel Rubini was a session musician during the 60s and 70s who got into the soundtrack game with his memorable work on Tony Scott’s 1983 debut, The Hunger. Rubini’s thrilling work for Mann really adds to the film’s esoteric quality. ‘Graham’s Theme’ slowly builds from a slow atmospheric dirge to a soaring guitar solo. It shouldn’t work, yet somehow it does.

 

VICTORIA (Nils Frahm) – Victoria‘s remarkable achievement is a film shot in one continuous unbroken take for the whole of its ambitious 138-minute running time. But director Sebastian Schipper’s towering achievement is aided immensely by Frahm’s elegiac score. It helps maintain the film’s flow and is really the connective tissue needed as events go from that beguiling post-clubbing cityscape before sunrise, to the stark early morning aftermath of a botched robbery. Victoria is essential viewing and Frahm’s outstanding work here is equally impressive.

 

TURBO KID (Le Matos) – Given the recent 80s nostalgia boom in the likes of Netflix’s Stranger Things and the Dan Stevens thriller The Guest, film scores are now being produced by those new breed of electronic artists steeped in the synthesiser. One of the best out there is the music for the gleefully violent, post-apocalyptic teen Mad Max homage, Turbo Kid. The shimmering electro from French Canadian duo Le Matos perfectly complements the film’s mix of copious lashings of gore and Day-Glo sweetness.

 

MANIAC (Rob) – If anyone made it through the gruesome, exclusively-POV shot remake of seminal 70s slasher Maniac, you’ll probably be aware of the equally terrifying and stylish synth score from French musician Robin Coudert (credited under the mononym Rob here). It’s the kind of unnerving soundtrack that gets right under your skin and stays with you well after the film has ended. Coubert is a well-known presence in the French electric scene, and he’s since scored 2016’s Amityville remake (The Awakening) and the Alexandre Aja-directed, Daniel Radcliffe-starring horror, Horns.

 

SIDEWAYS (Rolfe Kent) – Want a score to immediately perk you up on a drab day? Look no further than the music in Alexander Payne’s 2004 classic wine-addled relationship dramedy. The film itself has held up considerably well in the last decade or so, and some of that longevity has to be attributed to Kent’s score, which remains an utter delight. The breezy lounge jazz-infused compositions add texture and a real sense of class to the film, even if the behaviour of the protagonists themselves occasionally slides into the disreputable.

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