James Newton Howard

The Village (Original Score)

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Brought to life by the Hollywood Studio Symphony and solo violinist Hilary Hahn, James Newton Howard's score for The Village, M. Night Shyamalan's twisty parable of fear and love, is one of the film's most compelling assets, and arguably more eloquent in expressing its themes than its often stilted dialogue. Likewise, Hahn's solos rank among the film's best performances; the painstaking delicacy of her work on the bittersweet "Noah Visits" and the growing anguish on "I Cannot See His Color" rival Joaquin Phoenix and Bryce Dallas Howard's on-screen turns. Moodwise, most of the score hovers between brooding and hopeful, as exemplified by "What Are You Asking Me?" and "Will You Help Me?," but, as The Village is tangentially a horror film, "It Is Not Real," "The Bad Color," and "Those We Don't Speak Of" mix some eerie atmosphere and scary noises into the more meditative feel of the rest of the music. While the titles of those compositions and "The Shed Not to Be Used" unfortunately bring to mind the stiff, faux-antiquated dialect of the Villagers, all of these tracks are both more restrained and expressive, conveying much more with sound than the film's words do. The Village is a moody, often lovely score with a richness that benefits from the movie's not entirely successful ambitions while sounding complete on its own terms.

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