Some composers obsess over minimizing their scores in exchange for the drama onscreen, but Carter Burwell always leaves the moviegoer with a sense of time, place and mood, especially in such films as the Coen brothers’ Miller’s Crossing and Fargo or Todd Haynes’ Carol. Burwell’s cello, piano and woodwind trigger emotional recall: You can’t imagine his music in any other film than the one it’s in. This year, Burwell works with Haynes for a fourth time on Amazon/Roadside Attractions’ Wonderstruck, a visually brilliant, near-silent movie that follows two deaf children from two generations into a journey of their pasts. And just like Burwell scored for Frances McDormand’s hero on Fargo, he delivers a strong western theme for her turn as a fiery mother seeking justice for her daughter’s brutal death in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. In addition, this year Burwell composed the music for Fox Searchlight’s Goodbye Christopher Robin. Take a listen.
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