Musical Score By: Nuno Malo

Distributed by: Kronos Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                The science fiction thriller, Backlight, features the stories of a number of unrelated characters, each finding themselves at a critical stage in their lives.  All of these characters have one thing in common – they are inexplicably drawn toward an uncharted lake in the middle of the desert.  It is here that they are each given the opportunity to save each other and find redemption.

                The musical score of Backlight was created by Nuno Malo, a Portuguese composer whose early in music led him learned to play the piano and guitar at a young age.  Receiving both a Bachelor’s and Master’s 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 LUV.

                Since the movie includes several unrelated characters, it calls for very different themes to be present throughout the score.  According to Nuno Malo, “My approach to writing the music for Backlight was basically trying to find a balanced palette of sounds and textures that would help create an extra dimension to the film.”  Thus, the score contains a number of varying styles and instruments and includes strings, pianos, exotic instruments (flutes and the duduk), electric instrumentation and electronic sound.  Ethereal vocals also appear, to enhance the drama of the film.  The resulting variations make for quite interesting character themes.

                For instance, Daniel Saves the Girl is an upbeat score, performed in a higher pitch, with a general happy and uplifting emotion coming through.  However, Jay's Depression is a much darker score, performed in a lower pitch and morose tone.  Jay Almost Commits Suicide is a very poignant scene and one found in the trailer for the film.  Watching this scene play out with this score in the background makes the emotions of the scene and what actually stops Jay from actually going through with his plan even more amazing.  The Mother and Daughter tracks feature varying styles, depicting the varying emotions in a mother/daughter relationship. 

                Just watching that trailer with Nuno Malo’s score in the background was enough to tell me that he created the perfect music for this film.  The score enhanced the emotions of the scene.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of it…the emotional drama was so poignant.  The entire score is interesting, but just for that particular track I would recommend anyone checking out the Backlight Soundtrack.  This is how scoring is supposed to be done!


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