The Finest Hours is a heroic adventure with a soft side, and that's exactly what Carter Burwell's score exudes when listening to the soundtrack to Disney's newest film. The theme that carries the emotional weight of the film and the soundtrack underscores the romance between Bernie and Miriam, which is the first track on the soundtrack ("Meeting Miriam"). But as I said, this is an epic and the score more often than not takes a suspenseful tone.
One needs only look at the track listing to get a sense of the general mood of the soundtrack. "I Hope You Didn't Kill Us," "You Don't Have to Come Back" and "We're All Alone" are just three examples of track names. In other words, this score doesn't lift your spirits overall, but there are some beautiful themes in there.
I love when soundtracks are able to provide one track that sums up all of the themes. On this release, that single track is called "Safe Harbor." It's nearly 10 minutes long and encapsulates the emotional ending of the film. It features that beautiful love theme and builds to a heroic anthem for the brave men in the film. It also features some of the rescue themes, but played up in a happier key.
Carter Burwell has had a pretty impressive composing career and is nominated for his first Oscar this year with his score from Carol. For Disney, he has provided the score for A Goofy Movie, The Rookie and The Ladykillers. His score for The Finest Hours is beautiful, but I found the listening experience overall to feel a little lackluster without the visuals and I don't often feel that way about score soundtracks.
The final track on the soundtrack comes from the band Kodaline, whose sound bears a striking resemblance to Coldplay. "Haul Away Joe" is the end credit ballad that is like an inspirational sea shanty that reminds me of "Fix You." While I stayed through the credits when I saw the film I couldn't remember it afterward, but I enjoyed it much more the second time around on this soundtrack
The Finest Hours soundtrack is now available digitally. While I enjoyed the opportunity to hear the score isolated from the film, this release didn't thrill me as much as I expected it to. I loved all of the beautiful themes that I remembered from the film, but it didn't reveal any new elements that I didn't notice before. It's a shame that Disney has made "Safe Harbor" an album only track as I would recommend the purchase of that as a single rather than the entire soundtrack if I could. But if you want it, you have to get the entire soundtrack. It's by no means bad, it's just not that great.