Musical Score By: Nuno Malo

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the dramatic film, LUV stars Michael Rainey, Jr. as Woody Watson, an eleven-year-old boy living with his grandmother (Lonette McKee) in Baltimore while his mother is in rehab.  When his Uncle Vincent (Common) returns from an eight-year stint in prison looking to start over in life, he takes Woody under his wing.  But when Woody spends the day with the uncle he idolizes, he gets a crash course in what it means to be a manÖand it isnít all it was hyped up to be.

                The musical score of LUV was created by Portuguese composer Nuno Malo.  Showing an interest in music at an early age, Malo learned to play the piano and guitar.  Receiving both a Bachelorís and Masterís Degree in Composition, Nuno Malo also became an accomplished jazz guitarist.  Awarded Breakout Composer of the Year 2010 at the IFMCA Awards and nominated for Best Original Score for a Drama Film for Amalia, he has composed musical scores for such notable films as The Celestine Prophecy, No God, No Master and Happy Endings.

                The LUV Soundtrack features a mainly electronic score with some orchestral elements, giving the music an edge that reminds us Woody lives in the inner city, as well as who and what he is idolizing at the moment.  According to the composer, ďWe wanted a direction that was an exploration of texture rooted in a strong main theme.  To create a palette that was original, but not for the sake of being original. The director wanted to me to create a musical texture that would add the poignancy to the main character - the boy.  So there was quite a bit of experimentation. It starts out as a more electronic score, and moves toward a more orchestral palette as we reach towards the climatic scenes in the latter part of the film.Ē  The tone is rather sad and, in the case of Never Show Weakness, dark and dangerous at times.  It is only toward the end of the soundtrack, in Visions of a Better Life, do we hear a bit of a brighter tone and some semblance of hope for Woody.

                Iím still not quite sure how I feel about the LUV Soundtrack.  There are times when the reverb and electronic sound can be overly loud and somewhat painful to the ears.  Lowering the music wonít help much.  I assume that the loudness and intensity are meant to enhance the emotions of each scene.  The score is incredibly sad, but watching the trailer for this film made me understand why it had to be.  I suppose the score created by Nuno Malo works for the film.  I just donít know how many people would by the soundtrack based upon whether or not it worked as scene enhancement in the movie.


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