BÖRÜ – Lincoln Jaeger


Börü (Wolf) is a Turkish Netflix Original 6-part series (not to be confused with the movie of the same name) that aired in 2018. The show follows a group of military Special Ops types – the Wolf team – from 2014 through to just prior to the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey, Each episode focuses on a specific operation although there is an over-arching story across all 6 episodes and the obligatory personal stories also to tell. Critics have noted the well executed action sequences – of which there are many – but the show is let down by the quality of the stories, the script and the characterisation of members of the Wolf team.

Börü’s score is by UK composer Lincoln Jaeger, whose previous credits to date are mainly trailer music (though he has also scored the feature film version of Börü). A quick read of the composer’s website and you will find that the composer “…love[s] grand orchestral sounds, hybrid trailer music, great drum grooves…”, and that’s exactly what you get with Börü. [Read more…]

8 DAYS (8 TAGE) – David Reichelt


8 Days (8 Tage) is an 8-episode German apocalyptic sci-fi mini-series where a 60-kilometre wide asteroid/meteor is on a collision course with Earth. American attempts to neutralize the threat have failed and Europe is in line to be completely wiped out by the impact. The drama focuses on the final days in the lives of a normal German family and the final countdown is interspersed with flashbacks to fill out the protagonists’ backstories.

German composer David Reichelt has provided the music for the SKY Germany drama, combining a textural sonic landscape with beautiful soprano vocals that, separated from the visuals, takes on the qualities of a 50-minute tone poem that works surprisingly well as a stand-alone listen. It’s Reichelt’s vocal compositions that leaves a lasting impression. Mesmerizingly sung by sopranist Caroline Adler, liturgical texts offer a stark contrast to the electronica. The opening “Eight Days”, with its combination of vocals and church-organ styled keyboards, gives a religious feel to the score. “Freedom” and “Passion” are tracks with strong performances from Adler and feels like a timeless arias. Adler’s vocals become more aggressive in tracks such as “Trafficker” and “Hostage” where a punchier, rhythmic delivery adds variety to the use of the human voice. A breathier version of this rhythmic vocal in “Abortion” weirdly echoes the patterned breathing sometimes encouraged during labour and childbirth. In all cases, Adler’s ethereal vocals are sympathetically underscored by the composer’s enveloping soundscapes: meandering synth washes or delicate pulsing electronic rhythms. [Read more…]

TIDSREJSEN – Flemming Nordkrog


Original Review by Alan RogersTidsrejsen

Tidsrejsen is a Danish television family drama starring Bebiane Ivalo Kreutzmann as Sofie, a social outsider who is having a difficult time at school and is having to deal with the recent divorce of her parents. All she wishes is to have her old life back, where her parents love each other again and everyone is happy. It’s at this point that a strange boy comes on the scene; the Justin Bieber-lookalike Dixie (Hannibal Harbo Rasmussen). Although new to the area, Dixie seems to know an awful lot about Sofie. Being a “TV- Julekalender” (a traditional 24-episode “event” shown on consecutive nights in the run up to Christmas), director Kaspar Munk’s Tidsrejsen is a Christmas tale where family and social conflict are resolved with the backdrop of a cosy blanket of yuletide love. But, there’s a twist in this particular tale: time travel. With significant nods to films such as Blade Runner, Men In Black and particularly Back To The Future, Sofie and Dixie (who is from the future) travel back in time, crossing Sofie’s parents’ timeline, to hopefully stop Sofie’s parents from divorcing. Added to the mix are sinister agents from the future who are trying to foil the plans of Sofie and Dixie. [Read more…]

CHINE: RÉPUBLIQUE POPULAIRE DE LA CORRUPTION – Maximilien Mathevon


Original Review by Alan RogersChine - République Populaire de La Corruption

Chine: République Populaire de la Corruption is a one-hour French investigative documentary made by Anne Loussouarn that examines the continuing spectre of state-wide corruption that’s hidden within the country’s recent and significant economic rise. Despite the launch of a high-profile anti-corruption campaign by China’s new leaders – illustrated most by the spectacular downfall of Chinese politician Bo Xilai – Loussouarn’s film uncovers persistent governmental corruption and follows the efforts of local activists to fight against the abuses experienced by the ordinary citizen. Chine: République Populaire de la Corruption (Chine) is typical of many investigative documentaries: plenty of sequences of clandestine filming of dubious meetings, footage of car journeys through city streets and face-to-face interviews with various interested parties. Much of the details of the film were lost on me – my understanding of French is too limited for me to follow much of what was said in the original copy of the film I viewed for this review – but one facet of the documentary I could follow was the score, written by prolific French composer Maximilien Mathevon. [Read more…]

JENS JENSEN, THE LIVING GREEN – Sam Hulick


Original Review by Alan RogersJens Jensen

Jens Jensen (1860-1951) was a Danish-American landscape architect who set his mind to battle against the advancing industrial expansion of Chicago at the turn of the 20th century, to create green spaces (the “Living Green”) so people could have access to nature. Jensen created and re-designed numerous parks in order to improve the lives of the inhabitants of the great city, believing that access to nature lifted peoples’ spirits and benefiting society as a whole. As part of his plans, Jensen wanted to use native American plants and flowers rather than import exotic types, making naturalistic parks full of flowers (and materials) in environments where these flowers would flourish. [Read more…]

BROADCHURCH – Ólafur Arnalds


Original Review by Alan RogersBroadchurch

Broadchurch is the critically acclaimed crime drama that hit British TV screens in the spring of 2013. Shown over 8 weeks, it has been compared with quality Scandinavian dramas such as The Killing and The Bridge partly because of Broadchurch’s whole feel and look. One of the reasons the drama gripped the audience was the story’s focus on how the death of a young boy affected both the boy’s family and the wider community and how both family and the close-knit community showed severe signs of strain as the police investigation progressed to a conclusion. Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds – who wrote a strings and piano-based score for the drama Another Happy Day – compliments the over-riding sense of tragedy, melancholy and grief [Read more…]

LE SYSTÈME OCTOGON – Patrice Mestral


Original Review by Alan Rogers

The French documentary film Le Système Octogon is based upon the thesis formedby two investigative journalists (Fabrizio Calvi and Frank Garbely) who suggest that as World War II drew to a close a significant amount of Nazi gold was hidden away only to resurface – after the war had ended – to help fund the German political party, the Christian Democratic Union and to have further wide-reaching influences within political circles over the decades after the war. A major part of the network, the “Octogon Trust” was a front company set up by an arms dealer and it functioned as the channel for this secret funding. Using archive footage from the remnants of war-torn Germany, plus photos and expert interviews, director Jean-Michel Meurice weaves a narrative that describes the extent of this far-reaching corruption and details the role former Nazis and the Nazi finances played in the whole system. [Read more…]