Child 44

Composed By: Jon Ekstrand

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Based on a novel by Tom Rob Smith, Child 44 stars Tom Hardy as Leo Demidov, a secret police agent in 1950s Russia who refuses to denounce his wife (Noomi Rapace) as a traitor.  Losing his status, power and home, exiled from Moscow to a remote outpost, Leo and his wife find themselves joining forces with General Mikhael Nesterov (Gary Oldman) in tracking down a serial killer who prays on young boys.

                The musical score of Child 44 was created by Jon Ekstrand, a Swedish composer who began his music career as a sound engineer and sound designer.  He began composing music for television and film in 2003 and has amassed quite a résumé.  Credits include musical scores for Easy Money, Sebastian Bergman, The Fighter, Babylon Disease, Outside Love, and more.

                In creating the musical score for the film, Jon Ekstrand took into consideration the locale and the time period in which the film takes place.  According to Ekstrand, "So we decided not to go with any electronic elements and only work with acoustic instruments and sparingly with effects. We also wanted solo Viola and balalaika tremolo beds to be a part of the score so that the overarching tone would be very dark and ominous."

                The Opening Track of the Child 44 Soundtrack is a melancholy string-based melody.  The track is so sad, one can't help but wonder what awful disaster (if you haven't already seen or researched the movie) is about to befall the main characters.  The second track, There Is Only You, a piano piece accompanies the strings and, after some time in the score, one begins to detect the exotic flare of the balalaika, a nod at the movie's locale.  Searching for Brodsky is faster paced, more dramatic composition with a sense of urgency.  Rises in crescendos/speed of the music plus some deep percussion often expresses a sense of danger or fear. 

                Child 44 has not received rave reviews from fans of the novel.  Others seem to think that the movie is actually well done.  Either way, the score created for Child 44 by Jon Ekstrand perfectly expresses the sadness of losing a child and the danger involved in tracking down a serial killer, while still letting listeners know where the film is taking place and during what time period.  His music basically tells the entire story and, I must admit, has inspired me to see the film, regardless of the reviews.  The Child 44 Soundtrack is definitely music worth taking a listen to.


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