THE ESCAPIST – Benjamin Wallfisch

Original Review by Alan Rogers (First uploaded at

The Escapist is a 2008 British drama starring Brian Cox as convicted murderer and prison lifer Frank Perry. With no chance of parole, he has no choice but to plan a prison break when he decides to make peace with his estranged daughter before she dies after falling ill. In order to carry out his ingenious plan of escape he must call upon the skills of group of fellow inmates. What follows is a claustrophobic tale switching between prison breakout build-up and the actual escape through a warren of underground tunnels. Co-writer and director Rupert Wyatt’s (also director of the upcoming Rise of The Planet of The Apes) decision to use a minimum amount of dialogue together with the murky, gloomy feel to the movie presented a challenge to composer Benjamin Wallfisch.

Wallfisch came to the attention of the film music world with his acclaimed score to his feature film debut, Dear Wendy (released by MovieScore Media), earning him many accolades including a nomination for “Discovery of The Year” at the 2005 World Soundtrack Awards (WSA). As well as composing his own film scores he has orchestrated many of Dario Marianelli’s scores, including Atonement, Pride and Prejudice, V For Vendetta and Jane Eyre. Wallfisch’s score for The Escapist (which led to a second “Discovery of The Year” nomination at the WSA in 2008) is bookended by a memorable title theme that’s based on a raw and gutsy propulsive ostinato in the strings (particularly the low register strings) that’s reminiscent of Hans Zimmer’s use of low strings in The Ring. The motif is embellished with piano, winds as well as cimbalom. The mix of the clear sound of the hammered dulcimer alongside the meaty but muddy sound of the strings of the propulsive motif is an interesting one and is heard particularly well in the second track of the score, “Diamond”. [Read more…]