In an era of Hollywood scores defined by emotional bombast and sonic overkill, a work as intimate and moody as Richard Hartley's A Thousand Acres would seem to virtually demand critical praise -- and yet, in many respects it's as heavy-handed as its more conventionally blustery counterparts, going so far overboard in establishing its sensitivity and tastefulness that the end result is quite tedious. Hartley's compositions are simply too low-key for their own good. Without a strong main theme to weave in and out of the narrative, the music lacks focus and direction, caving in under the weight of its palpable melancholy. Mood dominates A Thousand Acres at the expense of melody, and while such an approach may work onscreen, as a pure listening experience there's little here to latch onto.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny
|A Thousand Acres, film score|