A lot of people know Cyntoia Brown’s story, but we haven’t heard it or seen it with such a personal touch like with Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story. Netflix’s documentary gives us such a first hand account of how Cyntoia found herself in prison and it shows us how her legal teams worked tirelessly to get her out. Throughout the film, we hear a lot of gentle piano in Jongnic ‘JB’ Bontemps’ score, and it really drives our emotional journey as we witness Cyntoia’s path towards clemency.
Since Murder to Mercy takes such an intimate approach, we forget how celebrities such as Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and LeBron James showed their support. The music propels us to want to dive more into Cyntoia’s struggle. When we meet Cyntoia’s biological and adoptive mothers, the music never judges them nor does it get in the way or tell us what we should feel. When we see Cyntoia during her many court proceedings, Bontemps gives is a dramatic flair and knocks us off-kilter with the strong strike of the cello.
Bontemps’ score is so stellar because it doesn’t pull focus from the heart of Murder to Mercy. Legal thrillers are overstuffed with over-the-top cues but Bontemps knows how to push and pull the score into a driving force that accompanies Cyntoia’s story.