The soundtrack to "Open Range" bears all the hallmarks of composer Michael Kamen's style. It is warm and understanding, and speaks boldly of common human values. Many of these traits shine through the characters on the screen and are proudly enforced by the background music. Kamen's particular skill is being able to portray such simple emotions with layers of subtlety which add considerable interest, hint at an underlying complexity and nurture an involving intimacy. By the time testing events unfold we already care deeply about these characters and we feel their ensuing turmoil and tension. Of course Kamen's music also accompanies these subsequent developments, but it refuses to deviate from the main character's point of view. So, while there might be evil characters and sinister acts, the darker parts of the music stand apart from these events and depict a reaction to this. For the most part though, the music focuses on the positive emotions of love, loyalty and courage.
Musically we hear some of the kind of Americana that we might associate with movies set in the Wild West. The score is largely a traditional orchestral one but there are guitars in some of the tracks which help to root us in both time and place. So while the score is traditional in these aspects, it avoids overt western cliches and treats the subject matter in a way which is seemingly timeless and universal. Yet the music is not generic in the sense that it could have been written by any composer. If is very much a Michael Kamen score with all the little melodic and rhythmic touches which we associate with this particular composer. So fans of Kamen will be in familiar territory yet very much willing to share this final journey with him. This soundtrack CD is available from: Amazon.co.uk in the UK, and Amazon.com in the US.