5. There Will Be Blood
score by Johnny Greenwood
From the first frame, it sets your teeth on edge, the mountains, still, flooded with the atonal drone of Johnny Greenwood’s score. Something is deeply wrong, and it’s down to the rocks, suffused in the earth itself. Eventually, it must out, bursting from the Earth in a destructive flood. This is the greatest synchronicity of tone and intent between composer and filmmaker I can think of – in one shot, accompanied by one melodic line, the central thematic of the film is introduced and impressed indelibly. From there, both film and score build into an ever larger and more sophisticated structure, a referendum on the American, or perhaps human, endeavor in its most essential facets, ranging from deep below the crust of the Earth to its most lofty mansions. The rot of ambition and avarice is like a cancer throughout, unnoticed beneath the surface except for the omnipresent, unnerving evocation of Greenwood’s work, forging an unbreakable tension in its unerring portrayal of the vicissitudes of existence and survival.
Essential tracks – Oil, Prospectors Quartet