Down the Deep, Dark Web

Musical Score By: Frank Ilfman

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the documentary, Down the Deep, Dark Web, journalist Yuval Orr is assigned an article – simply 500 words about the dark web.  But as he delves into what the dark web is and what can be done there, it’s like a rabbit hole of endless possibilities, one that takes him to Tel Aviv, Prague and Berlin.  There he meets tech experts, cybercrime watchmen and self-appointed underground freedom fighters made up of hackers, crypto-anarchists and libertarians fighting for privacy.  Born in 1984 and understanding all that Big Brother is about, Yuval can sympathize a bit, but there are other sections of the Darknet in which criminal activities reign – drug trafficking, gun trafficking, human trafficking and more.

                The musical score of Down the Deep, Dark Web was created by German/Israeli composer Frank Ilfman.  When he was eight years old, Frank Ilfman received a copy of Ennio Morricone’s score for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and he fell in love with film scoring.  His heart set on achieving a career in film music, he studied trombone and piano at the Jaffa Conservatorium of Music in Tel Aviv, but he had difficulty adhering to the structured methods and eventually left.  During a visit to Berlin in 1984, Ilfman was introduced to Klaus Doldinger, a German composer who was creating the musical score of The NeverEnding Story.  His passion for scoring grew and, but seventeen, he worked with composer Jan Hammer on the television series, The Chancer.  Since then, he has created musical score for a number of projects including Big Bad Wolves, Sensoria, The Etruscan Smile and Ghost Stories.

                The Down the Deep, Dark Web Soundtrack features electronic sound – not very surprising, considering the subject matter.  When we think computers and the web, we automatically think digital sound components and the like.  Synthesizers and ambient sound mixed with electronic percussion is the main theme, but every so often Ilfman throws us a curve by mixing in barely heard and often indecipherable vocals, slower tempos and more.  As I listened to some of the score, I could picture a sort of computer wormhole in my mind’s eye and the music was taking me racing down this wormhole toward an unknown destination…heavy stuff, huh?

                The score created by Frank Ilfman made me want to know more about the documentary and so, I decided I should check that out as well.  Who would have thought an hour-long documentary could be so disturbing?  Down the Deep, Dark Web makes you question everything you ever thought about the Darknet.  Sure, most of us understand that much of our privacy is diminished the moment we join a social media site, set up our own website or order something online.  There are cameras everywhere in our daily lives and we accept these invasions of privacy because of the safety these items also provide.  We are told that the Darknet is a place for illicit activity – drug sales, pornography, human trafficking and even identity theft, but what we forget is that the Darknet provides something even more precious to some people – privacy.

                Am I a fan of Mr. Snowden?  Most certainly not.  But I do understand his original principal – that we are very unaware of the information that the government collects about us everyday under the guise that they are protecting us from some unknown threat that today is named terrorism, but tomorrow can go under some different name in justification of their actions.  I get that.  I also get what two of the Darknet users were telling Yuval Orr – that the Third Reich began with data mining performed, ironically, by the governments Hitler sought to overthrow.  The governments of Poland, France, etc. all gathered information on their citizens through the necessary registration forms.  Thus, Hitler’s people, simply by going through the registry information of the countries he conquered, knew where every Jew, every Catholic, etc. was located and could be gathered up for extermination.  This is a fear many have – that history may repeat itself and that one group or another might be targeted for extermination by some new form of a very old monster. 

                Down the Deep, Dark Web shows us yet another side of the nefarious Darknet – a side in which big pharmaceutical companies would receive anonymous competition from some Darknet user who has the formula to create cheaper drugs that have the same effects as those being sold at exorbitant prices on the regular market, can possibly improve them and compete in a world where those big pharmaceutical companies can’t.  On the surface, that might seem desirable, but what if someone seeking to tweak or improve a vital medication accidentally turns it into something that could harm, or even kill, an individual? 

                In the end, I was left with conflicting emotions on the subject.  Yes, I could see the good and the bad of the Darknet and I suppose that this was the whole concept behind the documentary – to make one actually think and actually question all that was told them about the Darknet and come up with their own opinion regarding the pluses and minuses of its existence.  What an incredibly interesting documentary, one I would definitely recommend to our readers…and something I may never have seen if it weren’t for the musical score created by Frank Ilfman!


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