Variety can exclusive debut two of the ominous tracks from Netflix’s highly anticipated film “The Power of the Dog,” one of the leading contenders for the Oscars this awards season. The songs, composed by Jonny Greenwood, digitally release on Oct. 26.
The two tracks, titled “25 Years” and “West,” show the range of Greenwood’s composition on the western drama from director and Oscar-winning screenwriter Jane Campion. Lakeshore Records and Invada Records will release “The Power of the Dog — Music From the Netflix Film” on Nov. 17 on CD and vinyl.
Uniquely distinct from one another, Greenwood’s choices have always been diverse in tone and what it calls upon the viewer to feel in particular scenes. His stylistic experiments have been well-documented throughout his composing career, but his choices in Campion’s film may be his most accessible for conventional orchestral enthusiasts. He shows his gift for infectious melodies on the track for “25 Years,” orchestrating a dark, brooding selection blended with a light honky-tonk undertone that matches perfectly with the period. With “25 Years,” you find more of his signature stylistic eclecticism, which showcases an emotional pastiche from his work on “The Master” (2012). Aside from his work on Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood” (2007), which was famously (and grotesquely) disqualified from the Oscar race in its respective year, his shrieking strings could stand as one of the musicians most ambitious and most remarkable contributions to the cinematic art form yet.
With an extraordinary career that started as the lead guitarist and keyboardist of the alternative rock band Radiohead, Greenwood’s contribution to the cinematic sphere has been invigorating with notable works on films like “Phantom Thread” (2017), for which he received his sole career Oscar nomination. Along with “Power,” which currently stands as one of the frontrunners for original score for the Academy Awards, he’ll also have two other movies contending — Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” and Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer.”
In the film’s notes, Greenwood shares, “the main thought I kept returning to was that this film is set in the modern era. It’s too easy to assume any cowboy story takes place in the 19th century. There is so much culture in Phil’s character. He’s well-read, and it isn’t hard to imagine his taste in music being — alongside his proficiency on the banjo — very sophisticated. The pleasure in a character this complex and emotionally pent-up is that it allows for complexity in some of the music, as well as simpler, sweeter things for his contrasting brother. Bouncing between these two characters, musically, generated a lot of ideas.”
Campion says, “Jonny Greenwood, our composer, is a genius. Simple as that.”
“The Power of the Dog” has played at various film festivals including Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York, receiving critical acclaim and mounting a best picture campaign bid for Netflix. It stars Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”), Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons. Along with Campion, it’s also produced by Oscar winners Iain Canning and Emile Sherman (“The King’s Speech”), BAFTA nominee Roger Frappier (“Jésus de Montréal”) and Emmy nominee Tanya Seghatchian (“The Crown”). The film is scheduled for limited release on Nov. 17 before debuting on Netflix on Dec. 1.