A Single Shot

Music Composed By: Atli ÷varsson

Distributed by: MovieScore Media/Kronos Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the dramatic thriller, A Single Shot, Sam Rockwell is John Moon, a man recently separated from his family and living in poverty in Upstate New York.  To sustain himself, Moon resorts to poaching and on his most recent hunting trip accidentally shoots a teenage girl.  In a panic, Moon searches the girl's belongings and finds a box containing all the money he needs to get back on the right path in his life.  Little does he know that there are others searching for this money...others desperate enough to do more than simply put a bullet in Moon.  They want that money at all costs and are willing to do just about anything to get it back.

                The musical score of A Single Shot was created by Icelandic composer Atli ÷varsson.  Coming from a musical family, ÷varsson was introduced to the profession at a young age and, by the age of twenty, was already writing for some of Iceland's top jazz and pop ensembles.  Moving to the United States, ÷varsson obtained a Master's Degree in Film Music Composition from the Berklee College of Music.  Joining Hans Zimmer's musical think tank, Remote Control Productions, in 2006, Atli ÷varsson worked on a number of musical scores with Zimmer, including Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, Angels & Demons and The Holiday.  Since then, he has completed the film music scores of The Eagle, Evidence, Colette, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.

                A Single Shot is a very dark and intense edge-of-your-seat thriller, so it comes as no surprise that the musical score of the film would be very dark and goosebump-inspiring.  There are only seven tracks on the A Single Shot Soundtrack and each track is increasingly longer than the first until you come to the final track which rounds out at eight minutes (just slightly under the track before it).  The score, performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra, is definitely ominous, mostly performed in lower registries.  The music doesn't vary much until the middle tracks in which violins are made to screech and wail (at times sounding akin to sirens) in the midst of string plucking, piano tinkling and dark percussion. 

                While I believe that the music created by Atli ÷varsson for this film is perfect for setting the mood and providing that "oh crap, something really bad is about to happen" feeling, I question the idea of releasing this score in album format.  I don't see sales soaring on this album.  Some scores are solely meant to be used as aides in getting a movie's emotional or dramatic point across and Atli ÷varsson does just that, but those scores don't always translate well when released in album format.  Without knowing what the music was created for, many listeners might find the score a bit boring.  In fact, the first time I listened to it, it was so dark, I fell asleep.  It's a great educational piece if you are looking for the definition of how atonal music can give a listener the "willies," but not something I would specifically look to buy.


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