The Homesman

Composed By: Marco Beltrami

Distributed by: Varese Sarabande Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Based on a novel by Glendon Swarthout, The Homesman takes place in the 1850s Midwest and stars Hillary Swank as Mary Bee Cuddy, a former teacher from New York.  A spinster, Mary is an active member in the farming community she has moved to.  During one particularly harsh winter, three woman (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) are driven mad by the difficulties of pioneer life.  Mary volunteers to take the women to Iowa, employing drifter George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) to accompany them.  But the road is treacherous and the weather horrific, making the journey ahead daunting, if not impossible.

                The musical score of The Homesman was created by award-winning composer Marco Beltrami.  Famous for the musical scores he created for the horror films Scream and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Beltrami has not confined himself to the horror genre.  He has created scores for dramatic films such as 3:10 to Yuma, The Hurt Locker, romantic dramas like Trouble With the Curve and action films like Snowpiercer, The November Man, World War Z and The Wolverine.

                The music of The Homesman is quite interesting, mixing orchestral sound with electronic.  There is a frontier feeling, a whimsical beauty in the string section performance in The Main Title, but one can't ignore the strange start of the track - that haunting sound of out of tune piano keys being played.  Dark moments in the score, during which death and despair rein, are represented with lower registry strings and percussion.  But the most striking moments of the score are those in which the main theme is distorted, more than likely speaking to the state of minds of the three women Mary Bee Cuddy is charged with taking east. 

                I found The Homesman Soundtrack to be quite an intriguing dichotomy of beauty and danger, pride and despair, serenity and insanity.  The music perfectly represents the difficulties and beauties of life on the frontier and I have no doubt it perfectly accompanies the visuals of the film.  Marco Beltrami rarely disappoints.  The Homesman Soundtrack is definitely worth taking a listen to.


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