- Review by Kaya Savas - December 14, 2018
The Cry is a BBC miniseries based on the novel of the same name and follows a young couple in the aftermath of the disappearance of their baby. Joanna and Alistair are on their way to Australia with their nine-week old baby, Noah. Noah is crying the entire flight and can’t seem to get settled. Once in Australia, they continue on their journey and quickly stop to to get some supplies. When they return to the car, Noah is gone. What follows is a twisty and somber descent into hell as the truth unravels. The score by Lorne Balfe is a subtle little masterwork from the composer. A dreary examination into loss and pain, while also crafting a mystery that slowly presents itself.
It’s rare that we find a story these days that embraces the darker sides of humanity. Sometimes we need that release, sometimes we need that sadness and weight injected into us. The Cry fulfills that while also crafting a supremely engaging mystery. Some people will shield themselves from stories like this, opting instead for bright and shiny superhero movies where the good guys always win. But if you’re really going to explore the human condition, you have to embrace the fact that not everything is sunshine and rainbows.
Lorne Balfe commits fully to The Cry, delivering a potent and powerful score that explores sadness and pain. The music sets up the narrative and introduces us to Joanna, our main character. We experience this story through her, and the music is born from her. This is something that Lorne has become an expert at, his music is always capable of shaping scenes, but the emotional core is always born from the character. While this score is extremely heavy on a contextual level, it’s never heavy-handed. Lorne manages to build these passages where the music just grows and blossoms into these powerfully emotional climaxes. Some electronic textures providing a pulsing or tonal rhythm under higher strings create this building sensation. The use of electronic pulses and rhythms become not just a structural tool, but a psychological one. When the series delivers the reveal of what really happened, and things unravel even further. Lorne is never afraid to take us where the story needs us to go. The score carries us all the way through the reveal and ends on this painfully beautiful place. The final track “Do You Forgive Me” aches with so much pain and beauty, but there is hardly much light at the end of this tunnel.
While some may dub The Cry “too depressing”, it really is one of the more bolder and mature stories of recent memory. Loss and despair are rarely explored in real-world circumstances such as they are here. And while the general twisty plot is highly dramatic and leads to some melodramatic moments, the overall organic emotional journey displayed here is very powerful. Sometimes you need a good story to remind you that you’re human, that you can feel pain and sorrow. Step away from the shiny studio tentpoles for a bit and explore something that will shake you to your core. Lorne Balfe’s The Cry is a tremendous work and some of the finest TV scoring in recent memory.