EL LADO OSCURO DE LA LUZ/THE DARK SIDE OF LIGHT is a richly shadowy, ominously powerful and thought provoking psychological thriller which takes its storyline from true events about a serial killer who was sentenced to an electric chair execution but somehow managed to survive it. This criminal justifies his murderers in the belief he is God’s chosen one and that has fulfilled a liberation mission of his victims. Using a symbolic language, this story exposes “Actions that prove killing in God’s name is an excuse to cover atrocious crimes”. Memo is orphaned at the age of 7 and is left in the charge of his cruel tyrant of a grandfather who imposes great emotional violence upon the boy that wounds him profoundly; this treatment and abuse affects him deeply generating within Memo a personality disorder that leads him into severe alcohol addiction. Memo manages to find love and support in Karla, a beautiful young woman with whom he plans to start a new life, however Memo’s alcoholism tears them apart the same day of their wedding, unleashing intrigues and betrayals that detonate Memo’s criminal instinct. A prisoner of his memories and before being executed, Memo describes the origin of his own sadness and the meaning of the liberating mission he has carried out upon each one of his victims, because they like him were tormented and consumed by their own cruel past. Is Memo a chosen one? Can his grandfather confront himself when he discovers the monster he has created? Will Memo’s crimes go unpunished?
The musical score for this enticingly brooding motion picture is the work of Mexican born composer Gus Reyes, who has constructed a score that is not only haunting in a romantic and melodic fashion but also has a dark and near foreboding ambience to it that underlines and also punctuates the proceedings, these more unsettling elements are ever present throughout the work but never become overbearing or intrusive to the central and more prominent thematic material. Gus is for all intent and purposes a newcomer and almost unknown out side of his native Mexico, but this I am confident will change once collectors have listened to this interesting and totally absorbing score and realise just how much talent and potential this young but very capable film music composer has.
The music for EL LADO OSCURO DE LA LUZ can be described like the title, by this I mean it posses darkness and a sense of apprehension but also has shafts of light that we get glimpses of every so often these create warmer interludes and stunning melodic nuances and moments which are rewarding and highly emotive in their sound and construction, the composer makes effective use of the string section of the orchestra supported by piano and further underlined by understated use of harp to create a rich and romantic resonance, he also utilizes choir and soprano equally as effectively combining voice and instrumentation which together purvey an almost celestial atmosphere. There are a number of occasions within the score where solo violin is employed, this for me personally evoked a sound that I normally associate with Ennio Morricone, a lamenting and heartrending solo that tugs at the listeners emotions and in effect invades their head, this is demonstrated in track number 6, ELLA Y YO most prominently, solo violin opens the cue, and is enhanced by the use of harp until the string section sweep into the composition with a glorious and emotional rendition of the scores central theme accompanied by choir, the strings rise as if from nowhere to infuse a lushness to the proceedings, track number 18 QUE NO VIERON A DIOS? Also contains solo violin and although this is just a brief performance it is still affecting, the solo performance introduces the cue underlined by harp, and then melts away giving prominence to fuller sounding strings. Delicate piano solos also are one of the main components of the work these create a calming and soothing mood at times and are a welcome respite to the more atonal passages that are within the score. This warmth tinged with melancholy is demonstrated fully in track number 17 “REQUIEM DEL LADO OSCURO” soprano performing the main part of the composition with choir adding their voices to the proceedings embellishing and complimenting the solo performance, which is also punctuated lightly by harp, strings are then brought into the equation adding more of a substantial support to the vocals and creating a sad but at the same time majestic sound. Track number 2, MI NOMBRE ES, is a more urgent sounding piece, but it is not grandiose or highly dramatic, the composer utilizes harp and strings again but this time to create this sense of urgency, he also brings choir to the composition, that although sweet sounding relays a mood of uneasiness. Track number 3, RECEURDOS, is a slightly atonal in its introduction swirling strings build slowly as choir is added and woodwind are fleetingly called upon to add an almost grotesque tone, but this taught and unsettling ambience fades to give way to a more calming mood created by slow and restrained strings. Track number 20, is listed as a bonus track SUITE DE CONCIERTO is I suppose an Overture of sorts for the score as it contains many of the principal themes from the work, giving us the chance to hear all of them complimenting and augmenting each other. This is a score I recommend highly, and am pleased that KRONOS records will be releasing this great score in the very near future.