Man to Man

Composed by: Patrick Doyle

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Taking place in the 1870s, Man to Man tells the story of three anthropologists who believe they have found evolutionary missing link after capturing two African Pygmies.  Transporting them back to Scotland, the anthropologists study the couple, attempting to prove their theory that the two Pygmies, Toko and Likola, are somehow the key to understanding how man evolved from apes.  But one of the anthropologists (Joseph Fiennes) begins to realize that the couple exhibit traits akin to any other homo sapien.  How can he prove to his two colleagues (Iain Glenn and Hugh Bonneville) that Toko (Lomama Boseki) and Likola (Cecil Bayiha) are truly human and not freaks of nature to be displayed on exhibit in a local zoo?

            The musical score of this historical feature production is Scottish composer Patrick Doyle.  A classically trained composer, Doyle joined the Renaissance Theatre Company in 1987 as a composer and musical director for successful productions of Hamlet and As You Like It.  His film scoring debut came in 1989 when he was commissioned to create the musical score for Henry V by Kenneth Branagh.  Since then, he has created scores for such notable films as Dead Again, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Eragon, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Thor.

            Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, the Man to Man Soundtrack begins with a sweeping orchestral theme that appears throughout a number of the tracks on the album.  The score created by Doyle seems to be more descriptive of the story's surroundings and events that take place in the film rather than the psychological dilemma faced by the anthropologists.  For example, the first tracks feature a sweeping orchestral theme that seems to signify the mysterious beauty of the African landscape.  Later, in a track called Capsized, one can actually picture the waves crashing against the boat thanks to the crashing cymbals accompanied by rumbling percussion.  Hitting Trees contains sounds that emulate the movement of leaves. 

            Even in tracks in which one would expect to find musical score more in tune with the character's emotions, like Abigail's Feeling, there really seems to be no change in the tone of the score.  The sweeping orchestral themes are always present and, don't get me wrong, they are beautiful, but I wonder at the lack of the emotional drama present in the score that is bound to be found in the film.  And yet, I still recommend checking out the musical score of Man to Man simply because it is a beautifully composed score.  It may miss the mark when it comes to defining the emotional state of the characters in the film, but the beauty outweighs that point tenfold.


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