Film scores

Soundtrack review: Jane’s got a gun (Lisa Gerrard and Marcello de Francisci – 2016)

Jane Got A Gun.image001
“Jane got a gun” is one of the most poetic Western scores I’ve heard. The music is enchanting and beautiful as the clearest night sky you could see in a prairie

“Jane got a gun” is a 2016 western staring Natalie Portman and scored by Lisa Gerrard. I don’t need to know more or read more, I am in both for the movie and the score. I am a big fan of these two girls. You the readers might need more facts though so I’ll add that the movie is about a girl who has built up a new life with her husband after being tormented by a vicious gang. She finds herself in the gang’s crosshairs once again when her husband stumbles home riddled with bullets after dueling with the Boys and their relentless leader, Colin (Ewan McGregor). With the vengeful crew hot on Ham’s trail, Jane has nowhere to turn but to her former fiancé Dan Frost (Joel Edgerton) for help in defending her family against certain death. Evil Ewan McGregor… another reason for me to check this movie out. Lisa Gerrard co-wrote the score with Marcello De Francisci..

I enjoy very much the Western sound. There are moments when a quiet and melodic Americana tune like “Bedtime story” is all I need to just relax and enjoy myself. The opening cue is nothing unheard of but I love sitting back and listening to the quiet dialogue by a camp fire between a guitar and a violin. The opening couple of minutes are enough to place me where and when the action takes place. I’ve listened to everything Lisa Gerard wrote and I love discovering new things about her craft. I don’t remember hearing her quite like this. The music has her deep sensitivity but the guitar is something new.

I am mesmerized by the first few cues and I almost forget the darkness in the story. The pounding heartbeat in “Fitchum” wakes me up from the dream and makes me feel the danger. The score never gets loud though and I like that. The beauty of a good Western score is that it can either be spectacular and full of riding stride or burn quietly like this one and still make for a very enjoyable listen. I close my eyes during a cue like “Cattails” and let my heart bask in the beauty of the music.

Most time I hear a modern Western score I feel the need to compare it with the sound that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis created for “The assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford”. For me that’s the moment when modern Western music was created and whenever another score brings back the same feelings I am happy. The slow strings in this one achieve that.

“Jane got a gun” is one of the most poetic Western scores I’ve heard. The music is enchanting and beautiful as the clearest night sky you could see in a prairie. Lisa Gerard always said she writes music for the heart and regardless of the story she never strays from that path. There’s also a nod to her “Dead can dance” roots in “Montage” and her magic voice appears in “Jane’s story”. I loved this score and I will surely return to it.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 38 / 58

Album excellence: 66%

Highlights:

Bedtime Story

Ham Falls

Katie Safe

Jane Meets Bishop

Cattails

Dan Watches Jane

Dan At Bishops

Balloon Ride

Dan On The Ridge

Hams Wants Jane

Jane’s Story

Brothel

Siege

Let’s Go See Jane

Jane goes West

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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