Burnt is your typical “standard” fare and storytelling cliches, which is why it pains me hear a composer as good as Rob Simonsen trying desperately to make something so old feel fresh and new. Burnt doesn’t offer us the audience with anything substantial except the bare minimum and is definitely not the best representation of what Rob Simonsen is capable of.
Burnt’s score suffers because it has nothing to latch onto, so the resulting effort is nothing but generic background filler. Here’s the deal, Rob Simonsen is a fantastic composer and his music has been brilliant in films like The Way Way Back and Wish I Was Here. In all of his scores he manages to find the pulse of a film’s energy or emotion, but here the music could honestly be slapped onto some reality TV show and sound like it was meant to be there. The music is bouncy and energetic with generic percussion loops, and it’s quiet and subtle when the emotional parts come. There is nothing surprising or unexpected, and the sound of it is very generic. The score fails to pull any emotions, lacks any melodic development and is simply meant to fill in space.
Burnt as a film fails to conjure up anything significant in terms of storytelling or character, and unfortunately that creates a chain reaction that leaves composer Rob Simonsen with an impossible task of making something with nothing. The score is obviously grasping desperately for something and finding nothing. The generic sound and lack of any narrative depth shouldn’t reflect badly on Simonsen who was merely doing his job. Sadly the job he did is bland and forgettable here.
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