An everyday story of a man and his lawn mower, The Straight Story is a surprisingly involving film, a gift both for film aficionados and general audiences. The acting and cinematography cry out for award nominations, but director David Lynch’s meticulous sound design and Angelo Badalamenti’s sensitive score are equally rewarding. Alternating between simple yet effective themes for piano, acoustic guitar or country fiddle and quartet and orchestral arrangements in an ambient vein, Badalamenti provides an emotive and supportive score for almost the entire movie-no radio-friendly rockers mar this quiet and dignified collection. As heard in theaters, several of the themes accompany contemplative panoramas of Midwestern wheat fields, visual treats that are echoed by the stately pacing and pastoral simplicity of the music. Apart from some mildly foreboding synth washes reminiscent of Badalamenti’s score for Twin Peaks, the overall tone is positive, if restrained, and the 52-minute CD works both on its own terms and as a subtle reminder of Lynch’s poignant yet heartwarming film.
Producers: David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti. Scoring, recording and mixing engineer: John Neff. Mixed by David Lynch. Studio: Asymmetrical Studio (Hollywood, CA).