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Soundtrack Review

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Three Thousand Years of Longing
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Tom Holkenborg
Label: Milan Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 26 August 2022

Milan Records releases the original soundtrack to Three Thousand Years of Longing with music by Tom Holkenborg. Dr Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is an academic - content with life and a creature of reason. While in Istanbul attending a conference, she happens to encounter a Djinn (Idris Elba) who offers her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. This presents two problems. First, she doubts that he is real and second, because she is a scholar of story and mythology, she knows all the cautionary tales of wishes gone wrong. The Djinn pleads his case by telling her fantastical stories of his past. Eventually she is beguiled and makes a wish that surprises them both...

Tom Holkenborg delivers a rich and atmospheric score for Three Thousand Years of Longing. However there's also a lot of background atmospheric music which might well set the right mood in the movie, but sounds rather dull when listened to in isolation.

Discussing the project, Holkenborg says: "This movie spans 3000 years, and George [director George Miller] wanted a score that could move from the ancient to the contemporary, while capturing all the emotions the characters experience in this film. This is really apparent in the main melody, which took two years to create! The goal was to compose something that sounds like it has always been here, and always will be. Music is essential to George's vision, and the arrangements had to be incredibly precise to convey the feeling captured on screen. Working with George is a joy, he continues to make me a better composer, and I am honoured to call him a collaborator and a friend."

There are moments, and quite a few, where Holkenborg's score shines brightly but it's mainly ambient background cues. It's weird because on a first play through I was really impressed, but subsequent listens just didn't hold up.

Also included within the 9-track (37 min, 05 sec) collection is 'Cautionary Tale', an original song performed by Matteo Bocelli. Written by Holkenborg in collaboration with George Miller and Augusta Gore, the emotionally resonant track features as the film’s end title theme.

Holkenborg is a master at delivering unsettling yet beautiful ambient scores and this is another fine example. But if ambient scores aren't your thing then you may well be left feeling cold by this soundtrack.


Darren Rea

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