Film director Alfonso Cuarón's dystopian science fiction thriller Children of Men is about a near future in which human fertility has nearly ceased, and to represent a setting that is familiar yet disturbing, the compilers of this various-artists soundtrack (there is also an album of the score) have chosen some rock and pop songs by well-known artists dating back to the '60s, some of them, however, presented in versions not so well known. Everybody knows the heavy metal band Deep Purple, but the band's initial American hit, a cover of Joe South's "Hush," doesn't sound much like its more successful "Smoke on the Water" phase. The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" and the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" are iconic '60s songs, but they are here performed by Junior Parker and heavily accented Italian singer Franco Battiato, respectively. John Lennon's "Bring on the Lucie (Freeda Peeple)," a song featured on his 1973 album Mind Games, is not one of his more celebrated numbers, despite its anthemic appeal; the version heard here is a rehearsal take that first appeared on the Lennon Anthology box set in 1998. There are also rap and reggae toasting tracks, and some electronic music, adding to the sense of dislocation called for in the film.
Following the success of 2014’s Birdman, director Alejandro G. Iñárritu pushes the limits of film making with the survival epic The Revenant. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and shot in the frozen Canadian wilderness with only natural lighting, The Revenant is a story of loss, revenge and resilience in the face of impossible odds against the furies of man and nature itself. The film is heavily favored to be a critical darling as awards season gets under way. Director Iñárritu has chosen to forgo almost all dialogue in favor of a gorgeous soundscape and a sweeping score. A film of this magnitude deserves a composer who understands creative artistry and unbridled passion. Japanese master and Oscar winner Ryuichi Sakamoto (Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Last Emperor) fits the bill perfectly. Along with fellow Yellow Magic Orchestra member and frequent collaborator Alva Noto, Sakamoto has created a gripping soundtrack that is sure to be a treat for the winter crowds. Bryce Dessner (writer for Kronos Quartet and the LA Phil) also supplies additional music.