Soundtrack Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

I find the soundtrack of Sicario: Day of the Soldado to be an interesting case. All things being equal, I feel certain that Jóhann Jóhannsson would have returned to score the followup to Sicario, but his untimely death made that impossible. Instead, Hildur Guðnadóttir (who worked with Jóhannsson on the first film) scored the sequel.

Hildur Guðnadóttir is an Icelandic cello player, composer and singer who has manifested herself at the forefront of experimental pop and contemporary music (e.g. with the band Múm). In her solo works she draws out a broad spectrum of sounds from her instrument, ranging from intimate simplicity to huge soundscapes. Her career as a film composer is soaring, having recently scored HBO’s limited series, Chernobyl.

Regarding the soundtrack for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Guðnadóttir had this to say:

I think SOLDADO is more emotional than the previous film, and the score follows that direction. This one is a bit more of a ‘classical’ score, with musical themes that follow certain emotional landscapes. That is something that was important to Stefano [Sollima, director],” Guðnadóttir explained that Sicario: Day of the Soldado has “a bit of a different feel as a score because the function of it is different. That is also a direction that was important to Stefano. He was also very vocal about the fact that he did not want to recreate the Sicario soundtrack, so he often wanted to go in very different directions from Sicario.

With all due respect, I feel inclined to disagree with the above statement. Having listened to the soundtrack, this score feels very similar to the original Sicario, and I confess I didn’t get the feeling of a classical score. However, I actually don’t mind the similarities to the original score, because I felt a great sense of musical continuity listening to the soundtrack. As with the first Sicario, the music was simple, concise, reflecting the tension and angst that both of these films are known for. The music is very “lean” which is totally appropriate for this kind of film. In a film like Sicario: Day of the Soldado, a lush orchestral score would feel totally out of place. This is a story dominated by violence and the “kill or be killed” mentality. Everything is stripped down to the bare minimum, including the music, and I really like that because of how well it fits.

Perhaps I’ve misinterpreted the score (it has been a while since I watched the first Sicario), but that’s my impression of the score for Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Please don’t misunderstand, I enjoy listening to it very much, and I feel that it is very much in line with the score for the original Sicario. If there are musical departures, I’m simply not noticing them.

Let me know what you think of Sicario: Day of the Soldado and the soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My thoughts on: Sicario (2015)

Film Soundtracks A-W

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