Atonal for Your Sins
by Edmund Meinerts
A dark psychological thriller, A SINGLE SHOT sees Sam Rockwell playing John Moon, a down-on-his-luck hunter who accidentally shoots and kills a girl, finds a large sum of money on her person and ends up on the run from criminals who are after that money. The music for this difficult story is provided by Icelandic composer and Remote Control “graduate” ATLI ÖRVARSSON. Ordinarily, the combination of thriller and RC composer tends to result in largely electronic (and, frankly, largely awful) scores of drones and drum loops; his concurrent score to EVIDENCE is exactly such an effort. For A SINGLE SHOT however, at the urging of director David Rosenthal, the composer was led down an entirely different and even more challenging path.
ÖRVARSSON likens his time working on A SINGLE SHOT to a master’s course in modern classical music, citing ARVO PÄRT, GYÖRGI LIGETI and JOHN TAVENER as some of the composers whose music he researched. Make no mistake about it, this is extremely difficult music to stomach on an album which is completely devoid of warmth. Essentially, the curiously structured MovieScore Media/Kronos album can be divided into two portions: the stark, lonely “thematic” material in the first three and final cues, and the outright atonal suspense contained in the three lengthy “John Moon Variations” (4-6) in the middle....