“The Homesman” by Marco Beltrami

When tackling modern western soundtracks The Homesman certainly shouldn’t be missed. After all it’s one of the most beautiful and heartfelt scores Marco Beltrami has ever written, and it’s backing up a small, independent film that’s not to be missed either.

The Homesman tells the story of a frontier farm woman (Hilary Swank) who saves the life of a claim-jumper (Tommy Lee Jones) and persuades him to help her escort three insane women to a safe haven in Iowa. (synchrotones.com)

It’s not exactly a thick plot, but The Homesman could perfectly be converted into a Red Dead Redemption II questline. First save Tommy Lee Jones from the gallows (I), then go grab a stagecoach and pick up the three lunatics (II). On your ride you’re up for some odd encounters (III) and you will have to make some sacrifices (IV) before you reach the women’s and also maybe your very own destination (V).

This is a slow film, heavy on atmosphere and images, and it’s certainly not for everyone. The same could be said about the music. All of the reviews I’ve read speak about not liking it a first, but loving it later on when it finally clicked with them.

What the camera does for this painting of a movie, Marco Beltrami and his partner in crime, Buck Sanders, do for the sound. They went to great lengths by building their own customized instruments or incorporating the actual soundscape into the score, with a large part of it being recorded outdoors.

There’s nothing artificial within that score. It’s all natural and features a great amount of tangibility in its sound. From the imperfect guitar-pluckings in the latter part of the “Main Theme” up to the airy reverb in the closing “Wind Haiku”, The Homesman feels like a breath of relief, compared to the armada of samples-driven and electronics-heavy film scores of today. A return to the musical roots of the last century.


  1. Great covers, as usual. I wanted to take the time to say that I really appreciate the write-ups you do. Especially this one for a lesser known film. I had never heard of the film or the music, and I watched the video you posted and found it fascinating. Thanks for what you do.


    1. You know, that makes me especially happy to hear, because I’m always wondering if my texts are even read by anyone. The write-up is usually the hardest part of a blog post for me, and sometimes I feel like skipping the text entirely and just post a few covers. Your comment encourages me to keep it that way (and maybe put some extra effort into future blog posts). I thank you for that!


  2. While you are in wild-west-mood, I recommend to watch “Slow West”.
    Some nice cinematography in that movie.
    Although I really can’t remember the score by Jed Kurzel (Babadook).


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