There have been whispers that Tommy Lee Jones‘ The Homesman is heading to Cannes. That’s not a bad projection to make, considering that his previous directorial oater The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada — which, like Homesmen was produced by Luc Besson‘s EuropaCorp — debuted on the Croisette in 2005. Adapted from Glendon Swarthout’s novel, The Homesman follows pioneer woman Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), who with the help of a claim jumper (Jones), escorts three insane women across Nebraska territory. I had the privilege in February of attending a scoring session for the film by Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami with Jones in attendance. It’s the third time Jones has tapped Beltrami for his films, and with good reason: He savors the composer’s talent for designing and using eclectic instruments in his scores. In musically personifying the film’s crazed women against a windy landscape, Beltrami built what is akin to an Aeolian wind harp at his mountaintop Malibu studio. Beltrami’s homemade instrument consists of several feet of piano wire, connected between an old saloon piano atop a metal freighter, and a water tank atop a hill. As Beltrami plunked at the piano, his fellow musician took a huge bow to the piano wire. The result: a haunting, tinny, bellowing theme that rivals Ennio Morricone’s whistle tune from 1966’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Beltrami’s music isn’t featured in the first trailer, however, it’s going to be a toss-up in terms of what is more sublime: His score or DP Rodrigo Prieto‘s jaw-dropping vistas.
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