The Music Image

The Music

By Alan Ng | October 25, 2019

The life of a cleaner is not an easy one. No, not that cleaner. The cleaner I’m referring to in Mark Battle’s The Music is the guy who cleans up mob hits whether it’s in a warehouse or a motel room—body removal, blood stain removal, everything, as if nothing happened. Clean!

Being in the business of murder (whether you pulled the trigger or not) is stressful and for Dominic (Michael Anthony Coppola), the job moves quickly when he listens to music on his transistor radio (ask your parents). It’s almost creates a dissociation with the realities of the cruelty of his employer.  In this case, the opening warehouse cleanup comes with the soothing piece, Gymnopedie No. 1 by Chopin.

“…the job moves quickly when he listens to music on his transistor radio…”

Thankfully for Dominic, this is his last job, but we know there is no such thing as a “last job” (see Gemini Man). As Dom dreams about living the rest of his life in the secluded woods with new identity in hand, he is called to one final job. Of course, nothing works out as planned.

As much as The Music is a narrative about a mob cleaner, it touches on the role music plays in our life. Music, particularly the classics, creates a calming effect and focus. For Dominic the calming effect goes away thanks to lousy reception as he loses the signal to classical music station on his radio. Is music enough for Dominic? Can music calm even the hard-hearted beast?

Writer/director Mark Battle tells a very simple story of the complicated life of a mob cleaner. There’s nothing necessarily profound in the story. We see this interplay between music and a very messy job. The Music is also shot in black and white and Battle masterfully composes his shot with the needed eye for contrast and composition. The Music is a beautiful story of extreme contrasts.

The Music (2019)

Directed and Written: Mark Battle

Starring: Michael Anthony Coppola, Wayne Shore, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

The Music Image

"…can music calm even the hard-hearted beast?"

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