Still Alice

Composed By: Ilan Eshkeri

Song By: Karen Elson

Distributed by: Nettwerk Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In the dramatic film Still Alice, Julianne Moore is Dr. Alice Howland, a professor of linguistics at Columbia University.  A happily married wife with three children, Dr. Howland learns she is suffering form an early onset Alzheimer's disease.  Based on the 2007 novel of the same name, the movie focuses on how Alice's diagnosis and progression further into the disease affects both Alice and the members of her family.

                The musical score of Still Alice was created by English film composer Ilan Eshkeri, whose interest in music began early in his life.  Learning to play violin and guitar and later performing in a rock band, Eshkeri studied music and English literature at Leeds University.  Working with a number of well-known composers, Eshkeri's big break came when he was asked to create a score for Layer Cake.  Since then, he has worked on the musical scores for Hannibal Rising, Ninja Assassin, Stardust, Kick-Ass, 47 Ronin and The Sims 4.

                The Still Alice Soundtrack features some beautiful orchestral tracks.  There are quite a few tracks that describe "up" moments in Alice's life like L.A. Drive, Beach and the beginning of Running.  The end of Running, Speech, Lost Phone and especially Pills indicate confusion, frustration, desperation, forgetfulness and even fear.  The pauses in the music, the sad orchestral tones and the cacophony of sounds represent Alice's ever increasing loss and the anguish it causes both her and her family.  The soundtrack features a song as the last track.  If I Had A Boat, by Karen Elson, is a catchy tune with some funny lyrics.  I'm not quite sure what relation the song has to the film, but these lyrics made me laugh: "The mystery masked man was smart / He got himself a Tonto / 'Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free / But Tonto he was smarter / And one day said Kemo Sabe / Kiss my ass I bought a boat / I'm going out to sea."

                Ilan Eshkeri's score for Still Alice does an excellent job of expressing the emotions involved in receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease.  The music starts off in a beautiful, all is right with the world tone, segues into something strange is going on and finishes with sadness and a feeling of loss.  Listening to the Still Alice Soundtrack, I could almost picture what was happening in each scene of the film, a sign that Ilan Eshkeri knows exactly what he is doing when creating dramatic film scores.  Job well done - now I have to see the movie!


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