The Road, directed by John Hillcoat and adapted from the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name, features an original score by Nick and Warren.
This highly anticipated big screen adaptation of the beloved, bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy (author of No Country For Old Men) sees Academy Award-nominee Viggo Mortensen leading an all-star cast featuring Charlize Theron, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and young newcomer Kodi Smit-McPhee. An epic post-apocalyptic tale of survival of a father and his young son journeying across a barren America destroyed by a mysterious cataclysm, The Road boldly imagines a future in which men are pushed to the worst and the best that they are capable of – a future in which a father and his son are sustained by love.
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis have created an evocative score featuring violin and piano with beautiful fleeting melodies and eerie sound loops filled with terror and suspense. The threat of all-too-real cannibal gangs is heightened by disturbing loops and frenetic percussion. A small ensemble of wind instruments adds further scope. At key moments in the movie, scenes between the father and son are set to musical passages that are light, lyrical and elegiac.
For Hillcoat and his team, the mission was to convey the horrific aspect of a ravaged world without resorting to well-worn clichés from the end-of-the earth genre. This required delicacy on all fronts – it meant creating a score without a big orchestral sound or melodrama or sentimentality. The Road is an adventure story, a horror story, a road movie and ultimately a love story between a father and his son, between a man and his wife, as it is a celebration of the inextinguishable will to live. The music of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis found just the right balance.
“I will do what I promised, he whispered. No matter what. I will not send you into the darkness alone.”
“The movie is about the loss of things, the absence of things, the lack of things. The lack of the wife/mother is present in every frame of the film. The delicate edifice of the film holds the ache of her absence, tenderly and by the tips of the fingers,” explains Cave. “The music was composed as a direct response to the film. A light, haunting, simple score with a sense of absence and loss at its heart.”