Home > Reviews > MINDHUNTERS – Tuomas Kantelinen

MINDHUNTERS – Tuomas Kantelinen

mindhuntersOriginal Review by Peter Simons

After David Julyan was relieved of his scoring duties on Renny Harlin’s psychological thriller Mindhunters, Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen was brought in for what appeared to be a last-minute replacement job. Within three weeks he wrote and recorded an 80-minute orchestral score. It’s hardly ever a pretty sight to see a composer’s work getting rejected, especially when it’s a young and promising composer like Julyan. The redeeming factor here is that Kantelinen himself is a marvelous but unknown composer who really deserves his big break. However, Renny Harlin’s career today isn’t what it used to be. The days of Cliffhanger and The Long Kiss Goodnight have long since passed. Though I personally found his Cutthroat Island to be a superbly entertaining movie, most of the world didn’t care for a female pirate roaming the high seas. The movie bankrupted Carolco and ruined Harlin’s career. Unfortunately for Harlin, his latest thriller doesn’t appear to be the solid pic he’d need for the audience to restore their faith in him. Mindhunters was supposed to be released in the fall of 2003, but currently holds an uncertain release date for September 2004, having been bumped at least three times. With each time the film is delayed, it gets less likely the movie will ever play in theatres at all. This is particularly unfortunate for Kantelinen, whose complex and exciting score for this potential blockbuster could’ve been his ticket out of Finland.

Kantelinen can be described as the John Williams of Finland. The classically-trained composer studied music at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Not only has he scored over 40 movies (all of which have titles unknown and unpronounceable for foreigners), he has also worked on television shows, theatre productions and even written an opera. He’s won several awards for his outstanding work, and his classically-orientated style is generally lush and romantic comparable to James Newton Howard or James Horner. Kantelinen was a guest speaker at a film music seminar during the 2003 International Filmfestival in Gent. He spoke of the movies he’s scored in Finland and how most of them are dramas dealing the Second World War. He also spoke of his love for animated movies and how eagerly he’d love to score one. Kantelinen has actually produced a 6-track promo with “animation tracks”. This is a powerful demo with great themes, colorful orchestrations and fantastic lyrics. It really is up to par with the best animation scores out there, the music being reminiscent of both Alan Menken’s playful tunes and Danny Elfman’s devilish sense of humor. Kantelinen did send his demo to Disney, but through a weird series of coincidences it ended up on Renny Harlin’s desk – who subsequently hired Kantelinen to re-score his violent action flick.

The film starred Christian Slater, Jonny Lee Miller, Kathryn Morris, former rap star LL Cool J, and Val Kilmer as part of a group of crack FBI profilers on a final training mission before graduation. Flown by helicopter to a remote island off the American Eastern Seaboard, the team are thrown head-first into a “simulated scenario” whereby a serial killer known as The Puppeteer is at work. However, the simulated scenario quickly becomes all too real when, one by one, the team is picked off by an real killer loose on the island – a killer who knows as much about FBI profiling as the team…

For Mindhunters, Kantelinen has created a dark and powerful orchestral score with a small, but appropriate, amount of electronica. It’s easy to imagine that any other composer would have opted for the techno sounds and drum loops, and in this regard kudos should also go to Harlin, who admittedly has a great taste in music, having worked with composers such as Michael Kamen, Alan Silvestri, Trevor Jones and John Debney. Rather than following the latest electronic trends, Harlin allowed for a large orchestral score which makes great use of what electronica there is (including, at times, a wailing electric guitar). Mindhunters may not be the perfect vehicle for Kantelinen to showcase his melodic capabilities (although this score actually does feature a rather attractive melancholy main theme that gets a wonderful workout in the third track), but it does allow for Kantelinen to show off his complex, multi-layered and energetic action-scoring, which really is up to par with the likes of Alan Silvestri or John Williams.

The 17th track on this album (it’s a pity there are no track titles available) is a particularly powerful, almost epic, action cue featuring racing strings and dramatic brass writing. Though it’s only a minute and half long, it’s exactly the kind of track that would have every score fan begging for a score release. We can only hope that a label like Varèse Sarabande might pick up on this one – Mindhunters would surely make for an engaging 30-35 minute album. With the movie’s release being pushed back repeatedly to the point where it’s hard to believe it’ll ever open in a theatre near you, it also becomes increasingly harder to believe Kantelinen’s score will ever get an official release. On the other hand… with every next track on this composer’s promo it becomes more evident that Kantelinen’s big break can only be just around the corner.

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • Track 1 (2:55)
  • Track 2 (1:42)
  • Track 3 (2:46)
  • Track 4 (3:32)
  • Track 5 (2:10)
  • Track 6 (1:32)
  • Track 7 (1:29)
  • Track 8 (2:40)
  • Track 9 (1:45)
  • Track 10 (3:13)
  • Track 11 (3:00)
  • Track 12 (1:48)
  • Track 13 (3:10)
  • Track 14 (1:19)
  • Track 15 (4:55)
  • Track 16 (2:48)
  • Track 17 (1:30)
  • Track 18 (1:01)
  • Track 19 (0:58)
  • Track 20 (0:50)
  • Track 21 (0:30)

Running Time: 44 minutes 51 seconds

Promo (2004)

Music composed by Tuomas Kantelinen. Conducted by Nick Ingman. Orchestrations by Tuomas Kantelinen and Matt Dunkley. Recorded and mixed by Mike Ross-Trevor. Produced by Tuomas Kantelinen

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