This full force thriller is the latest film from the acclaimed director Taylor Sheridan, and his most recent collaboration with composer Brian Tyler. It's an intense edge of your seat thriller which also has an uplifting emotion to it.
For his latest project Sheridan turns to Brian Tyler for the score, saying that Tyler can bring a level of intense action and genuine emotion to the film. The two have previously worked together on three seasons of the hit Paramount show Yellowstone, with a fourth on the way. You can hear some of that musical language with this film, being set in Montana the tonality has many similarities to Yellowstone. With that said, this feels bigger. It is constantly rising and building in tension, keeping you right on the edge of your seat. The driving bass and percussion keep the strong rhythm, the chilling strings give a constant sense of unease about what's to happen and the cinematic brass empowers us to strive for the main characters. And who doesn't love col legno? Tyler also works with some experimental instrumentation choices in this film. Throughout the film he uses the sound of a cello which had been set on fire with lighter fluid and played until it could no longer make a sound. A noble sacrifice of a cello to represent the ever growing destruction by fire throughout the film.
Angelina Jolie gives a solid performance as a woman dealing with immense past trauma and uses it to drive her strength and morals. Finn Little also gives a brilliantly emotive performance as a boy whose entire world has come crashing down and is scrambling to survive. This gives Tyler a brilliant opportunity with the score to play with the contrast of Little's character who is struggling with how to move forward and Jolie's character who has to face her past traumas in order to protect him.
This film is also an interesting glimpse into how scores have had to be created in the midst of a global pandemic. While much of the scoring process is done in a darkened studio, working individually at all hours of the day. I can imagine it has been a drawn out process to get the orchestral sessions organised in order to achieve the full cinematic sound. In a video on Tyler's YouTube channel 'Those Who Wish Me Dead (Scoring Session) by Brian Tyler' you can see that he is recording with a cut back orchestra with each of the players separated out, keeping in line with social distancing. This will clearly present new challenges for the music team at the Neman Scoring Stage, who will have had to find how best to place players in a spread out manner and achieve their iconic cinema sound. In my opinion, the cut back orchestra does play in advantage to this film, helping to keep the score more intimate and not lose the heart to a 90 piece orchestra.
This is also the first film I've been able to see in cinema for some time now, and I can say it's good to be back! Nothing quite beats being completely immersed in a story with a huge screen in front of you and surrounded by Dolby Atmos audio. This film was a great film to come back with, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout and had me listening to the score from the moment I left the cinema door. Now I can't wait to get back and see what films will inspire me next.
Some standout tracks from this score:
Those Who Wish Me Dead (Main Theme)
Elegy For a Soul
Glimmer Of Hope
A Burning Cello
Zero Sum Game
Those Who Wish Me Dead Finale