Review Summary: The Road Soundtrack takes its place beside Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Lustmord in creating a perfect soundtrack for the apocalypse.
Literature and the arts have always been great interests of mine, but ironically I have never really enjoyed reading fictional. Never really have I found it to be more of a chore, entwined in the uncreative dullness of the school system. I mean, I’ve understood why people enjoy fictional reading, but to see it in an emotionally powerful light is something I could never do. That was until I read Cormac McCarthy
’s ingenious epic, The Road
. What I found so brilliant about McCarthy’s masterpiece was how it was basically written in poetry; very little specifics were given, from names to dates everything was left out, focusing almost completely on the imagery to encapsulate the reader’s imagination. The plot was slow moving, almost frigid, embodying a trait that is very undervalued and almost lost in today’s mainstream culture; restraint.
Coming into the movie I was quite ready to be disappointed. Not only because I was close to certain that it wouldn’t top what was and is my favourite book, but with the commercial hype and advertising surrounding it, I was afraid they would go all “Hollywood” with it, taking away the stunning subtlety that made the book the masterpiece that it was. But after shedding many tears and seeing some of the best cinematography that has ever graced my eyes, I can say that my early assumptions were incredibly false. Although they added some much needed dialogue and more of a storyline, director John Hillcoat and writer Joe Penhall managed to keep the atmospheric magic of the book alive. Though everything else in the movie was nearly perfect, from the acting, to the dialogue, there are two main aspects of the movie that blew me away; one being the cinematography, stated before, and the other being the score, which takes us to the subject in question. The Road Soundtrack
With a movie like this, driven by atmosphere with little dialogue, it is pretty easy to say whether you are going to enjoy the soundtrack or not, and assuming you read the soundtrack above, my opinion going into this is quite clear. Within the movie the score fit perfectly, Dirty Three’s Warren Ellis
and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
, seem to create a near perfect sound for The Road, with subtlety and grace and the every now and then dark percussion lead attack. What impressed me most about the score was how Cave and Ellis managed to hone the restraint that made the book so gorgeous, without going the normal route of a full blown orchestra which, in this case, would not fit the film.
We have established that the score brilliantly fits the movie, but what makes the Fountain
and 28 Days Later
soundtracks so remarkable is their ability to stay not only musically relevant, but emotionally powerful even without the movie, for the soundtrack to stand on its own as a glorious piece of art, rather than just memorabilia for those who loved the movie. Usually mainly just piano, violin, loops, some wind instruments and a fury of percussion every so often, Warren Ellis and Nick Cave manage to do just that, making a score that stands out on its own as a brilliant piece of art. The piano is delicate the violin sways upon the line of eerie and beautiful, creating a dreary, midnight atmosphere, that would fit perfectly as the soundtrack of a man and a boy walking through a post apocalyptic wasteland. Though in the beautiful minimalist works there are scenes of horror. Tracks like “The Cannibals” and “the Cellar” incorporate the thrill of the Road, with cryptic noises and powerfully pounding percussion, without distracting from the overall adventure that the soundtrack is and the rare feeling of “togetherness” that it contains.
Minimalist but epic, dark but glorious, dreary but organic the soundtrack to the Road conveys exactly what the film presented; a glimmering hope in complete turmoil. Not only that but it could possibly the best work from both of the artists involved, referring to their work with The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
, Cave’s award winning score to The Proposition
, Ellis’ band Dirty Three, and whatever else they have been a part of. The Road soundtrack completes maybe one of the decade’s most prevailing trilogies, while standing on its own as a modern classical masterpiece, taking its place beside Godspeed You! Black Emperor
as creating a perfect soundtrack for the apocalypse.