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The Infiltrator by Chris Hajian (Review)

posted Jul 20, 2016, 4:47 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Jul 20, 2016, 5:52 PM ]

The Infiltrator is the newest film from director Brad Furman whose previous work shows an immense interest in the crime/thriller genre. His past films include The Lincoln Lawyer, Runner Runner and The Take. The Take was also scored by Chris Hajian who seems himself reuniting with Furman for The Infiltrator. Starring Bryan Cranston, The Infiltrator follows a US Customs official who uncovers a money laundering scheme that involves the infamous Pablo Escobar. Hajian provides the tense synth-based score here which does an admirable job of building suspense throughout.

What is very admirable about the score is that it’s approached almost in a retro vibe, and that’s mostly due to the vintage sound created by the electronic approach Hajian took here. The music does a great job of easing the listener into the narrative in small increments. The score album is nearly an hour, but it’s made up of 30 tracks. That’s a good indication that the approach was never to create wall to wall music, but instead use music a bit more strategically. The longer tracks are great examples of how Hajian is able to create this sense of momentum while utilizing subtle melodic builds and a more ambient approach. The music here is meant to sort of stay underneath the surface, which is why it seems to never call attention to itself. It’s a great comparison to see that our main character is trying to go undercover to infiltrate a trafficking network, and that the music mirrors that in its approach. Unfortunately there is a lack in emotional resonance when it comes to the characters since the movie and music are so focused on the plot. There is an attempt at injecting an emotional surge in the final few tracks, and it works for the most part but feels a little tacked on.

Overall, The Infiltrator is a great score from the extremely versatile Chris Hajian. It’s supremely engaging and effective at building suspense and tension with a score that mainly stays beneath the surface. The electronic approach both makes it feel unique and vintage at the same time, and really gives the film an identity. The characters and emotional sentiment don’t really shine through till the very end, but overall the score engages the listener and compliments the narrative very well.