Lakeshore Records and Invada Records this week release The Power of the Dog—Music From The Netflix Film featuring music by Academy Award-nominated composer Jonny Greenwood. The score, described by Polygon as “enrapturing” as well as “downright sinister,” is out digitally now, with physical releases later this year.
Greenwood commented in the film’s notes: “The main thought I kept returning to was that this film is set in the modern era,” notes Greenwood. “It’s too easy to assume any cowboy story takes place in the 19th century. There is so much culture in Phil’s character. He’s well read and it isn’t hard to imagine his taste in music being — alongside his proficiency on the banjo — very sophisticated. The pleasure in a character this complex and emotionally pent-up, is that it allows for complexity in some of the music, as well as simpler, sweeter things for his contrasting brother. Bouncing between these two characters, musically, generated a lot of ideas.”
Says Campion, “Jonny Greenwood, our composer, is a genius. Simple as that.”
More of what the critics are saying about Greenwood’s score:
- “A mesmerizing score by Jonny Greenwood that is really a main ingredient in the spell this film casts.” – RogerEbert.Com
- “The mounting dread embedded in the narrative and enhanced by the increasingly agitated strings of Jonny Greenwood’s atmospheric score — which is right up there with the Radiohead musician’s powerful work on ‘There Will Be Blood’” – The Hollywood Reporter
- “Jonny Greenwood’s score is amazing. There’s a lot of stripped-down, single-key piano music that brilliantly catches the raw nerves of the protagonists. It’s fair to say this singularly atmospheric film would not be what it is without the strikingly disharmonious notes of Greenwood.” – Awards Daily
- “Jonny Greenwood ties the whole thing together with a gripping, haunting score that elevates each moment. It’s been more than a decade since Campion’s last feature film, but wow is it worth the wait.” – Nerdist
- “Greenwood has established himself as one of the most inventive composers working today, and ‘The Power of the Dog’ will only strengthen his reputation.” – Film School Rejects
Severe, pale-eyed, handsome, Phil Burbank is brutally beguiling. All of Phil’s romance, power and fragility is trapped in the past and in the land: He can castrate a bull calf with two swift slashes of his knife; he swims naked in the river, smearing his body with mud. He is a cowboy as raw as his hides.
The year is 1925. The Burbank brothers are wealthy ranchers in Montana. At the Red Mill restaurant on their way to market, the brothers meet Rose, the widowed proprietress, and her impressionable son Peter. Phil behaves so cruelly he drives them both to tears, reveling in their hurt and rousing his fellow cowhands to laughter – all except his brother George, who comforts Rose then returns to marry her.
As Phil swings between fury and cunning, his taunting of Rose takes an eerie form – he hovers at the edges of her vision, whistling a tune she can no longer play. His mockery of her son is more overt, amplified by the cheering of Phil’s cowhand disciples. Then Phil appears to take the boy under his wing. Is this latest gesture a softening that leaves Phil exposed, or a plot twisting further into menace.