For Rock artists who choose to become composers for film, a tremendous amount of energy must be expended. Certainly far more than what is used for creating a tune for an album. An additional element enters into the mix that demands a direct tie in to the emotional pool based on someone else’s visual realizations. That’s difficult for any composer, but even more so for one used to writing a complete song based on one’s own thought process, beginning to end, over all territories. Having said that, few are as conditioned to putting music to the human condition than Nick Cave, and his musical partner, Warren Ellis. Both have honed their film composition skills over more than a few films that includes The Road, The Proposition, Hell Or High Water, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Wind River is the sad, engaging story of the murder of a young teen girl who ended up running for her life through the deep snows of the mountainous regions of the Wyoming Wind River Indian Reservation. Once her body is discovered, the FBI is called in. A rookie agent is sent in and the events that unfold reveal a darkness of humanity. From the meth house to the security detail of an oil-drill site and on to the deeper, darker realities of unrecorded, and under-investigated sexual assaults and disappearances of woman on reservations, Wind River steadily crafts a bleak story that presents no heroes, only losers.
Nick Cave and Warren Harris’ atmospheric score of Wind River is felt as much as heard throughout the twenty-three short pieces used for the film. The music is sad and unrelenting, and completely tells its story as it complements the unfolding events. Not only does the movie explore the story-line of a murder investigation, it details even more accurately, the intense displays of emotional pain and human frailty. With it, we come to realize for a short time, that we exist in a dark lifespan, surrounded by evil so thick that it can’t help but become visible at times. And Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is there to capture that with the effective emotional impact of their music.
Like their previous works on like films, both Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, whether together or separate, have become the go-to composers for movies that showcase no hope. With Wind River, they artistically capture every essence of sin with a hint of sadness and realization that we are knee deep and unable to extricate ourselves.
The Wind River score is, all by itself, chilling to the core with an ache of beauty inside it.