I have been looking forward to seeing the Dutch movie Wolf for quite a while, because it has many things in common with another Dutch movie, Wild. Not only is it a nature movie, with real animals being the actors, but Matthijs Kieboom was again responsible for the music after writing a brilliant score for Wild. As I have done in every previous review of Kieboom’s music, I have to mention that I know the composer personally, so my view of his music may be a bit biased.
When I listened to the music for Wolf, the first thing I noticed was that it is pretty different from the music from Wild. Wild is a nature movie about life on the Veluwe, showing the daily lives of all kinds of animals. Their stories are uplifting and family-friendly, and the music reflects that with many different delightful melodies. Wolf, on the other hand, is about the adventures of the first wolf returning to the Netherlands after more than a hundred years without any wolf sightings. As a result, the score for this story is also different.
As Kieboom explained in one of his Facebook posts, there is only one theme in the movie, representing the wolf. The first hint of this melody can be found in the introduction of the film when Kieboom’s name appears on the screen, surrounded by all kinds of orchestral sounds, including hints to Peter and the Wolf. You can hear the first full version of the theme on the album in “Scout,” in which the melody is performed on single instruments in the low register. The reason for using these instruments is mentioned in the same Facebook post: to highlight the wolf as an animal that moves close to the ground. The melody of the theme is gorgeous and can stay with you for a long time after listening to the music or watching the movie. The theme returns in most tracks, integrated masterfully into various music.
Since there is no dialogue, the music is allowed to shine in many sequences in the movie, resulting in an amazing soundtrack. “Hunting Wild Boar” starts with fast-paced percussion and patterns in the lower strings before beautiful melodies take over, including the theme performed on a single French horn. In “Scout’s First Winter,” you can listen to excellent melodies performed mainly by the strings.
You can hear only a handful of instruments in many tracks, but orchestral pieces are also present on the album. One of my favorite orchestral tracks is “Humanity Pt. II – Highway By Night,” which perfectly recreates a highway with many fast-paced cars through music. The last track I would like to highlight is “Scout’s Dinner Date.” The music is like a delightful dance, contrasting with what you see in the scene; if you know how gruesome a wolf’s dinner can be.
The first thought that came to mind when I listened to Wolf’s music was how different it was from Wild. I must admit; I was a bit disappointed at first because I was missing all kinds of different and beautiful melodies. Fortunately, my opinion has changed drastically since then. After listening to the music more carefully multiple times and watching the movie, it started to make sense. Wolf is a more mature movie, which the music reflects perfectly. It is more serious and down-to-earth. On the surface, using only one main theme sounds simple, but that is not the case here. There is always the chance that the music is starting to get boring after hearing the same melody over and over. Still, Kieboom has integrated the theme into the score in many variations, making for an exciting listening experience. I have been following Matthijs Kieboom’s music for many years now, and I keep hearing growth in its quality. The soundtrack for Wolf is a delight. Maybe you need to see the movie first to understand it better, as I did, but that does not make it any less of a score; it is music written for a film after all.
Listen or buy
The highlights are in bold.
- Opening Act I (1:56)
- Scout (2:33)
- Meet the Pack (2:20)
- Hunting Wild Boar (3:00)
- Bad Vibrations (2:50)
- Drought (1:57)
- Scout Discovers the Pond (3:04)
- Scout’s First Winter (2:39)
- Deer Hunting and the Road to Independence (3:11)
- Opening Act II (1:15)
- Beavers (1:02)
- Crossing the River (2:30)
- Humanity Pt. I – Incidental Refuge (1:42)
- Humanity Pt. II – Highway by Night (1:34)
- Opening Act III (3:06)
- Scout’s Dinner Date (1:03)
- Badgers and Foxes (2:22)
- Super Blood Wolf Moon (1:38)
- Birds of Prey (2:42)
- Becoming a Father (1:43)
- Humanity Pt. III – Construction (2:03)
- The Pack on the Move (2:33)
- At Night, the Forest Comes Alive (3:39)
- The New Queen (0:51)
- Finale (2:14)
Total length: 55 minutes
MovieScore Media (2022)