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Gambit by Rolfe Kent (Review)

posted Jul 1, 2014, 11:23 AM by Kaya Savas

Rolfe Kent finds a way to make a score come alive no matter what the film requires. He is able to infuse his style while still giving the music a freshly unique voice to the story it’s accompanying. Gambit was a rather under the radar fare with a screenplay from the Coen brothers, but Kent’s jazzy stylings give this comedy caper a classy feel that isn’t quite Mancini, but handles the events onscreen with ease.

Gambit is not a complex film nor score to delve into. Kent does a great job giving the music the right amount of bounce, the right amount of quirk and the right amount of pizazz without going overboard. I find that Kent’s scores never really call too much attention to themselves, but they stand alone beautifully apart from the film as well. The amount of score on this album minus the songs only totals around 22-minutes. The music doesn’t have a chance to really build anything substantial in terms of arcs. Kent manages to sneak in a few fun builds here and there, and the overall charm of it all makes it a winning score. The melodies will get your fingers snapping and your foot tapping, but it’s still structured to service the narrative which is a good thing. Little flourishes of strings, flute and brass give the score its character, and in the end that’s all that’s required of the music. In the end we do get to experience some character moments in terms of emotional resolution, but the length of the score doesn’t really allow us to get fully absorbed.

Rolfe Kent’s Gambit puts on display is undeniable style and ability to make any score feel like a living, breathing thing. There is an organic life to it that manages to win over the listener despite its short running time and somewhat choppy flow. Kent did the best he could at giving this comedy caper a unique identity, and I’d say he was rather successful. It’s a smooth, jazzy score with a comedic quirk that is worth checking out.