I recently watched Atom Egoyan’s haunting and achingly beautiful film “The Sweet Hereafter” with music by Mychael Danna.
Ever since becoming a father 3 years ago, I’ve had a hard time watching films where children get hurt or die. Yet, I still have to say this film is so well done, you must see it – and hear it. The score is great.
As an exercise, I often will analyze the music cues of a film to see the greater structure. Here’s the first 12 cues and how I think it’s being structured. The DVD is wonderful in that it has a separate music only soundtrack.
# Title/Type Description/Notes
1 Theme Opening titles to car wash
2 Daughter source phone booth urban
3 Theme Back in car wash
4 Daughter source phone booth urban
5 Sarah Polley’s song County fair
6 Bus theme Persian, No one at the car wash, the bus Spooky/haunted
7 The town’s theme Bear’s family flashback Mournful, old World
8 Sarah Polley song 2 Sarah Polley on the bus, father following Youthful, hopeful, optimistic
9 Sarah Polley song 3 Following the bus – almost like it’s on the radio
10 Bus Theme Foreshadowing Haunted
11 Town theme Lawyer comes to visit Bear’s family Old world- the way it was
12 Bus theme/haunted theme Lawyer gets his way – runs to the car for contract/things are set in motion spooky/haunted
From the above, you start to see that there is a structure. Anytime the bus is shown or memories of the kids on the bus, you hear the haunting persian oboe theme. I feel the townspeople had a sort of theme that was very old world to show the clash of their values with the modern ruthless lawyer(Ian Holm) coming to “save” them. Anyway, if you have the DVD, check it out and let me know if you agree. I returned my Netflix copy before I had a chance to post any musical excerpts. So the music clips are courtesy of allmp3.com. Check out a trailer at FineLine’s site.