The latest film score by award-winning composer Max Richter, for director Scott Cooper's Hostiles, evokes with beauty and restraint the wild landscapes of a world in which individuals collide with forces beyond their control. Hostiles is set in the American West of the early 1890s, when the Second Industrial Revolution was fast changing society and the native population had finally been defeated after decades of war with the US Army.
Based on an original story by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Donald E. Stewart, the film follows the relationship between a cavalry captain and war hero turned jailer, Joseph Blocker (Christian Bale), and Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi), a Northern Cheyenne chief held prisoner by Blocker at Fort Berringer, a dismal, dust-blown outpost in New Mexico. Blocker accompanies the dying Yellow Hawk and his family back to their tribal home in Montana, a journey that takes them through the striking scenery of America's heartlands. Along the way they are joined by Rosalee Quaid (Rosamund Pike), traumatized survivor of a bloody Comanche massacre. As these three characters, whose lives have been shattered by violence, bloodshed and loss, fight to survive in the hostile landscape of the American frontier, they grow ever closer – mutual suspicion is replaced by tolerance, aversion by empathy.
Echoing the compelling human drama of Hostiles, the score for this period Western, performed by the Air Lyndhurst Orchestra, combines the haunting stillness and elegiac beauty of Richter's Waltz with Bashir music with the noir-like intensity of his recent soundtrack for the hit BBC TV series Taboo. Tracks such as the plaintive "A Woman Alone," recalled and varied throughout, mirror the film's hard psychological edges and the transformation of conflict and ill-will into compassion and love. The soundtrack also includes the heartbreaking "How Shall a Sparrow Fly," written and performed by star Americana singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham.