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Pantani: The Accidental Death Of A Cyclist by Lorne Balfe (Review)

posted Mar 6, 2015, 9:24 AM by Kaya Savas

Marco Pantani is widely considered to be one of the best road racing cyclists to have lived. He won the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in 1998 and like many in the sport he was accused of doping, but he never tested positive. He was disqualifed from one event in 1999 due to irregular blood values, but again with no proof of doping. The constant accusations caused him to spiral into depression. He then died of an accidental cocaine overdose in 2004. Lorne Balfe lends his finely tuned documentary scoring skills to this fascinating story on Pantani’s life. The short score represents how music can do a great job at supporting a narrative despite its limited running time.

Balfe does a great job of delivering everything that is needed in just around 18-minutes. He boils down this tragic rise and fall story into 5 tracks of score. The score comes at you quick, but never feels rushed or incomplete. We have an introduction, we have his achievements, his decline and finally his death. The score captures the spirit of racing and the sport with also just the right amount of a tragic tone. One can point some similarities in tone and stricture to Hans Zimmer’s score to Rush, which Balfe also worked on. The score serves its purpose and gives us a fleshed out albeit brief look at the rise and fall of Pantani.

I think the fact that that you feel a personal connection to the music is a testament to how Balfe handles the material. Even though he doesn’t have the running time that most scores would have to build a structured narrative, he accomplishes what the score needs to do. It may be more in the form of bullet points, but it is a complete work here. Since there is not as much time for the score to pull the audience in, it may be harder to become emotionally invested. But it’s still a worthy accomplishment, and another fantastic entry in Balfe’s recent string of doc scores.