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Album Review: Jackie [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] by Mica Levi
Great, Based on 4 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Mica Levi's music for Under the Skin was rightfully acclaimed for its radical approach: its insistent, unsettling minimalism was the perfect backdrop for a film about a predatory alien disguised as a beautiful woman. Pairing this avant-garde sensibility with a biopic about one of the 20th's century's most famous women is an even bolder choice, and one that pays off strikingly on Jackie: Levi's score for Pablo Larrain's film about Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following President John F. Kennedy's assassination captures the disorienting strangeness of intense grief.
To the outside observer, there are no figures quite as elegant or tragic as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis — and the first half of that sentence is truly the defining factor in understanding the American icon. At least from the perspective of someone looking back at John F. Kennedy’s presidency and tragic assassination through black-and-white stills in textbooks and occasional video footage, Jackie-O radiated a dignified sadness.
In director Pablo Larrain’s Jackie, unlike almost any movie made about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, there are no hints of shadowy puppet masters or boogeymen: there is simply the spotlight on one person’s grieving, complicated by the grief of an entire nation. Accompanying the film is a score written by Mica Levi, whose work in film in the last three years is slowly surpassing any of her output as an experimental producer or art-pop rocker (with Micachu and the Shapes).
Mica Levi’s first soundtrack since #Under the Skin# is far lusher and more conventionally instrumented than her previous outing, using swoops of strings and fluttering flute to evoke powerful, yet suppressed emotion. Where Under the Skin vibrated with otherworldly strangeness, Jackie invokes an aura of heightened reality, of mannered gestures weighted with more than their share of emotion and meaning. The music was written for Pablo Larrain’s cinematic biography of Jackie Kennedy, which focuses on the days immediately surrounding her husband’s assassination in Dallas.