True Grit (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
Carter Burwell has scored dozens of films, including Being John Malkovich, Twilight, and The Kids Are All Right, but he’s probably best known for his long-running collaboration with the Coen Brothers. The directing duo’s 2010 release, True Grit, is an adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel, which was also the source of a 1969 film starring John Wayne, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. For the newer film’s score, Burwell arranged 19th century hymns, including “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms,” a song that provides the movie’s main thematic material. Burwell is deft at crafting numerous variations for piano and/or orchestra on that theme; each one has a distinct emotional/musical shading. For example the gloomy “A Methodist and a Son of a Bitch” is marked by mysterious, glassy strings while “Your Headstrong Ways” is delightfully jaunty. The other hymns that Burwell draws on lend a nice variety to this fine soundtrack. The album concludes with Iris DeMent’s deftly intoned version of “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms,” which plays over the film’s closing credits.