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The Great Invisible by David Wingo (Review)

posted Dec 30, 2014, 3:40 PM by Kaya Savas

David Wingo has done a variety of work that has proven his versatility as a composer, from raunchy comedies to dark dramas. While Wingo isn’t known as a documentary composer, he demonstrates that he knows how to handle the material. Wingo shows that he can craft the exact mood and tone that the filmmakers want the audience to be feeling. The Great Invisible is a doc about the Deepwater Horizon oil rig tragedy that took place in the Gulf Of Mexico in 2010. The documentary looks at the response from many points of view including the oil workers and the oil companies. Wingo provides a mostly ambient score with a southern twang to it, but it does a really good job of holding this documentary together.

The score is designed to work around many talking heads and stock footage, as does any doc score. I wasn’t surprised by the ambient nature of the score, but was surprised by how Wingo was able to infuse subtle melodies and motifs throughout the body of the score. I really loved the way it played out, and it totally absorbed me with its personality. Bass riffs, percussive textures, and echoing harmonicas give it this haunted southern noir feel. The more ambient sections of the score leave enough room for the picture to be built on top of it, but still manage to create slow builds that can hook you during a solo listen. The music is never heavy-handed and does just the right amount of legwork for this documentary that tries to open up a conversation.

The Great Invisible is a hypnotizing and absorbing score to a documentary about the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Wingo’s score has enough style and personality to be aesthetically intriguing yet just the right amount of structuring to support the film without ever getting in the way. I think this is a doc score that managed to find that elusive fine line of artistic expression and film serviceability. Documentary scoring is always something that can just sit in the background unnoticed or do too much to sway emotionally, but Wingo found a great balance that makes it effective and engrossing.