Soundtrack Review: The Surface

Soundtrack Review: The Surface

The Surface Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Surface by Jeff Russo.

At a glance:

Geek Score: 94.3
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 20.6
Album Excellence: 73.7

How are the scores calculated and what does it mean?

The Surface is a 2014 American drama thriller film directed by Gil Cates Jr. and starring Sean Astin, Mimi Rogers and Chris Mulkey. A chance meeting in the middle of Lake Michigan forces two desperate strangers, each on the brink of disaster, to confront their worst fears in The Surface. Mitch (Sean Astin) begins this day with a visit to his mother, confined to a nursing home with dementia, before motoring out to sea in his late father’s 70’s era boat for a journey to the center of Lake Michigan. As he settles in for what he envisions as a solitary final ride, Mitch’s vessel collides with the wreckage of a small plane, knocking off his propeller and stranding him in the midst of the vast body of water. As the tiny boat drifts, Mitch discovers Kelly (Chris Mulkey), the plane’s pilot, still clinging to the debris, and pulls the severely injured man out of the water. Instead of being grateful, Kelly is angry and suspicious, treating his rescuer like an adversary and aggressively protecting a mysterious backpack. Out of cell phone range and taking on water, the two men begin to reveal their real reasons for being on the lake that day. As they confront the secrets and sorrows that brought them there, they find inspiration in one another’s struggle to survive. The score is composed by Jeff Russo.

Ah, I’ve been waiting to hear some more Jeff Russo ever since I heard his Fargo score. There was something about it, something I needed at the time and still do. I have no idea whether this score will take me to similar places, but it will be exciting finding out. ‘The Opening’ is exactly the kind of opening cue I was hoping for, in fact it is even better than I had hoped for. Just listen to the textures, the synths, the mood it creates, the emotions it evokes. It is something else. The guitar is merely an afterthought in this delightful ambient mix. It has more parts. The piano replaces the synths, but it is a special kind of piano, a lingering one, simple but breathtaking long strokes. I am in love with this music. It is building up, and building up until around 3 minutes when the music takes a more folksy fast paced approach which is still gorgeous. It is easily one of my favourite cues of the year. Of course, after a magnificent cue like that, you can’t top it. The best you can do is follow up with some more amazing music, but not quite in that class. What does Russo do? He follows up with ‘Driving’, which isn’t in the same class, but it’s part of a story now, a story I am pursuing with peaked interest.

I imagine it must get lonely out there on that lake, even with two people there. The music feels like that too. ‘They’ll Be Here Soon’ is the lonely music of hope, a hope you secretly think is a lost cause, but you hope anyway. It’s a nice piece, very evocative. The music makes me very emotional and in touch with whatever’s happening in my mind right now. I am thinking about the incident in the film and I’m thinking about my own life and how things can spin out of control so quickly where you’re put in an impossible situation, but you make the best out of it anyway. It’s good to have Russo back, even if it was for only a short moment. He’s an incredibly talented composer and I can’t understand why there aren’t more official scores from him out there. It’s frankly bothering me, but I’m not a greedy man, I’ll take what I can get and this is more than fine.

1. The Opening *
7. Where Are You From
8. They’ll Be Here Soon
9. Flashback
11. The Lake
12. Swim *
14. Kim *
15. Ship’s Wake *
18. On Their Way
19. The Application *

GD Star Rating
Soundtrack Review: The Surface, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings


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