The Better Angels Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Better Angels by Hanan Townshend.
At a glance:
22 minutes of score
Geek Score: 62
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 0
Album Excellence: 0%
Buy or stream? Stream
The Better Angels is a 2014 drama directed by A.J. Edwards and starring Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger and Brit Marling. Indiana, 1817. The entire nation, only 40 years old and a few years removed from a second war of independence, is raw. Men, women, and children alike must battle nature and disease to survive in remote log cabins. This is young Abraham Lincoln’s world. Spanning three years of the future president’s childhood, The Better Angels explores his family, the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality. The score is composed by Hanan Townshend. This one looks very stylistic and unique. Filmed in black & white and the cinematics look almost dreamy, very Terence Malick. Hanan Townshend scored the 2012 movie To The Wonder which I didn’t like at all.
The reason I didn’t enjoy To The Wonder was that it was just too depressive. There was no happiness there at all and it had cues which literally made me want to stop listening. The Better Angels sadly follows the same formula, but it does have a slightly better outlook. I feel it’s a bit more positive. After all, this is about one of the most important people in history so you’d expect it can’t be all gloom and doom, yet it nearly is. ‘Growth No. 1’ and it’s many companions are bleak violin cues while ‘Dread’ is a dark percussion cue, slow rhythm, just not good at all. ‘Fall, 1818’ is the probably the best cue on the score with slow woodwind ostinatos, almost a 5 star cue. ‘Emergence’ is similar, and just as good
It’s safe to say I didn’t enjoy this one much. I feel that the Malick films just get it wrong musically sometimes and this is one of those times. When I see the lovely cinematics, I’m thinking lingering ambient cues, beautiful in origin, with some lovely themes. Sadly, they manage to make me depressed instead and turned off musically.