The Wizard of Lies
Musical Score By: Evgueni and Sacha Galperine
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Based on the Diana B. Henriques non-fiction book of the same name, HBO Films’ The Wizard of Lies stars Robert De Niro as Bernard Madoff, a stockbroker, investment advisor and financier who made headlines in 2008 when he was arrested for the Ponzi scheme that financially ruined countless individuals and is thought to be one of the largest cases of financial fraud in United States history. The movie examines the Ponzi scheme itself, Madoff’s deception, lies and cover-up and the resulting media and law enforcement scrutiny visited upon his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and sons Mark (Alessandro Nivola) and Andrew (Nathan Darrow).
The musical score of The Wizard of Lies was created by the scoring team of brothers Evguieni and Sacha Galperine. Beginning their classical training in Moscow, Russia, the brothers relocated to France in 1990. Evgeni studied symphonic composition and electro-acoustic music at the National Conservatory in Paris. Sacha turned to rock and electronic music and received first price for a violin performance at the Conservatory of Versailles. Together they have worked on music for a number of independent and mass-market films and have contributed music to such notable blockbuster hits as Split and The Hunger Games. Other scoring credits include The Family, The Past, The Invader, Le Baron Noir, The Whole Truth, Nine Lives and Loveless.
The Wizard of Lies Soundtrack features a mix of electronic and orchestral music, with more of a focus on the less organic sound. The Wizard of Lies is such a sinister first track, if one had no idea what this movie was about, they might think it were a horror film. For some of Madoff’s victims, I would say that this tale did contain some horror. That first track perfectly describes that cold and calculating being that put this Ponzi scheme together. According to Sacha Galperine, “Our goal with this score was to find the right musical color palette that would match this extraordinary character and the incomprehensible path he chose, taking the people around him—his clients as, well as his own family—on a descent into hell.” Evgueni Galperine adds: “A major source of inspiration for us was the symbol of the Ponzi Scheme. The cold mathematical pattern of it, the spiral that was set to get bigger and bigger beyond imagination until breaking inevitably into pieces. We tried to translate this mechanical fate into music, with all its strangeness, its suffocation, its absence of humanity.” Thus, the heavier focus on the colder, less organic electronic sound.
While the beginning of the score describes a cold and calculating man, I felt that the latter moments in the score described the personal and emotional hell the sons went through, particularly Mark who eventually took his own life. There is less coldness to the score at this point. It’s more disjointed and frenzied as the emotional stresses come to the surface.
The Wizard of Lies Soundtrack is a dark journey. The scoring team of Evgeni and Sacha Galperine do an excellent job in musically defining the man and his scheme and this score, without a doubt, works perfectly with the drama of the film it was created for. As a standalone album, I would say it was a quite dark, but incredibly interesting mix of electronic and orchestral music well worth taking a listen to. Well done!