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Believe Me by Hanan Townshend (Review)

posted Mar 3, 2015, 3:16 PM by Kaya Savas

Believe Me was a relatively unnoticed black comedy about a group of broke college kids planning a scam to make money in the name of the lord. The movie aims to poke fun at religious gullibility while giving us some situational comedy while also not making light of the situation. The trailer makes it seem like a crazy Super Bad style comedy, when the score will tell you there are some heavier dramatic beats within. With that being said, composer Hanan Townshend had his work cut out for film in trying to nail down the tone. While the score runs right under 40min, it still manages to lay the groundwork of something worthwhile. Townshend exploded onto the scene when Terrence Malick selected him to score To The Wonder, and since then he has proven his versatility as a storyteller with a grasp on deep emotions as well as his own style.

Believe Me may surprise you with how dark the score is. There are some moments that speak “generic modern comedy”, but the rest of the score I found to be very nuanced. The main character does go through a hero’s journey here, and the score paints that path. I felt the music was very in touch with the protagonist who has decided to exploit religion for his own personal gains. It shows us an internal conflict that juxtaposes some of the moments meant to make us laugh at how ridiculous they are. The score can run really heavy, but it creates a pretty decent emotional path for a great character revelation at the end. Overall the music does what it needs to do and gets out, and I was surprised that a score like this was able to be pulled off in a movie like Believe Me.

Hanan Townshend has no issues balancing the tone that defies the genre of the picture. You can’t call this a comedy score and it’s too easy to label it a drama score. It’s a character score that is meant to paint an internal conflict and show us the path the character takes to resolve it. Townshend has some fun with style in a few tracks, but overall the music speaks to the emotional journey rather than the physical one. It’s unique for sure, and I wish it was longer so that it was more fleshed out. But given the type of movie this is, I think the score is worthy of your attention. Especially from a composer like Hanan Townshend who has proven his versatility so quickly.