We continue to celebrate film music, as Trespassers undertake the difficult task of picking just 5 favourite film soundtracks/scores.
There Will be Blood- Jonny Greenwood
Jonny Greenwood’s award-winning score is bold and seemingly incongruous but worms its way into your brain until you can’t imagine the film without it. The oil rig explosion scene is pushed into the realms of brilliance by Greenwood’s loud, honking bravura.
Requiem for a Dream-Clint Mansell
The final sequence of this film is now the stuff of cinema legend but it would be nothing without the swirling crescendo of strings that propels it. Even now, hearing the score conjures the heartbreaking images that end the film.
Norwegian Wood-Jonny Greenwood
Another haunting Jonny Greenwood score. It wraps itself around Tran Anh Hung’s beautifully layered images, in this adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel.
Animal Kingdom-Antony Partos
The subtle mixture of silence and electronic reverb compliments the dark emotional narrative of the story without overwhelming it. The sound design is supported by some excellent song choices, including the memorable use of Air Supply’s All Out of Love.
The Wizard of Oz-Herbert Stothart/Harold Arlen
A bit of an obvious one but it cannot be ignored. One of my favourite childhood films and one of the few movies I have ever seen with a musical component that I still love.
Romeo + Juliet- Various
This baby got a heavy workout during my early teens. R+J’s tracks capture the angst (Talk Show Host- Radiohead, Local God- Everclear) and sweetness (Lovefool- The Cardigans, You and Me Song- The Wannadies) of Baz Luhrmann‘s Venice Beach adaptation of Shakespeare tragic love story.
This soundtrack’s coolness is undeniably appealing. Born Slippy by Underworld became a 90s anthem thanks to its inclusion in Danny Boyle‘s adaption of Irvine Welsh‘s story of addiction. While the soundtrack incorporated some of the best of British britpop (Pulp, Blur, Elastica), some of the most memorable scenes featured 70s classics; the opening sequence underscored by Iggy Pop‘s Lust For Life and Renton’s (Ewan McGregor)overdose set to Lou Reed‘s Perfect Day.
Blue Velvet- Angelo Badalamenti
Badalamenti has collaborated with David Lynch on music for Twin Peaks, Fire Walk With Me and Mulholland Drive, but the first film they worked together on was 1986′s Blue Velvet, an unsettling neo-noir mystery starring Isabella Rossilini, Kyle MacLachlan and Dennis Hopper. With an iconic film, comes an iconic music score, and Badalamenti strange and atmospheric score is a perfect accompaniment to Lynch’s vision. The soundtrack also features notable songs from Roy Orbison and Ketty Lester.
Tarantino knows how to compile a good soundtrack, and once he uses a song it is impossible not to connect that track with the film forever afterward (Stuck in the Middle With You). While Tarantino’s extensive record collections can be thanked for many excellent soundtrack, Jackie Brown (1997) pips the others at the post with its 70s soul and occasional country lilt. The strong female singers featured on the soundtrack perfectly complimented Pam Grier‘s onscreen presence.
Vertigo- Bernard Herrmann
Quite frankly I could have quite easily chosen Psycho or Cape Fear, because Herrmann was a master film composer. His work on Alfred Hitchcock films showed his skills off beautifully, capturing the mood of the onscreen action without using his score to distract the audience, a lesson many current film composer are yet to learn.
Singin’ in the Rain – Arthur Freed / Nacio Herb Brown
Arguably (though I feel inarguably) one of the greatest musicals of all time, this film’s score is surpassed only by its sprightly script. With classics such as Make ‘em Laugh, and the title Singing’ in the Rain, I challenge you not to tap your toes and grin goofily while watching this film.
The Graduate – Simon and Garfunkel
Featuring a soundtrack comprised almost entirely of Simon and Garfunkel songs, Mike Nichols’ classic is all the better because of it. Simon and Garfunkel is not merely background music in this film about disillusionment and desolation, but highlights the themes – plus is entirely listenable. The soundtrack includes classics such as The Sounds of Silence, Scarborough Fair, and, of course, Mrs. Robinson.
A Clockwork Orange – Wendy Carlos, credited as Walter Carlos
Any soundtrack that includes both Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain – and irrevocably changes the memory of both songs so that they are uncomfortably off-putting – deserves a mention.
Requiem for a Dream – Clint Mansell
Those sharp, unforgiving strings! Clint Mansell’s soundtrack is as dark and disturbing as the cult film itself.
Empire Records- Various
Although maybe born 5 – 8 years too late to truly appreciate the grunge movement, Empire Records was my teenage film of choice, and has left me with an unhealthy obsession for all things 90s. This must be due, in part, to the film’s rocking soundtrack. The Cranberries, Coyote Shivers, Buggles, AC/DC, Dire Straits and Flying Lizards – all combine to make one great soundtrack, essential for your 90s music education.
Amadeus-Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
This soundtrack is the gateway drug for classical music. Seriously. Anyone wary of Classic FM should start here and be won over by the dazzling, maddening genius of Mozart. I used to study to this soundtrack, so I can even promise it will make you smarter.
The Big Chill-Various
This was a close call with the Forrest Gump soundtrack, but having recently revisited Lawrence Kasdan‘s babyboomer classic, I can safely say the Motown tracks are impossible to resist. From Marvin Gaye to The Temptations, this soundtrack is the definition of groovy.
Oh yes, this is my shameless pick and I won’t hear a word against it! A deadset favourite for any cocktail fuelled girls’ night (the movie or the tunes), this compilation won’t leave you in the corner or carrying a watermelon, you’ll be too busy dancing (and swooning) instead.
(500) Days of Summer- Various
The thing I love most about this soundtrack is that I probably could have compiled it from tracks on my iPod. The Smiths, Regina Spector, Carla Brunei: it’s indie goodness. And after seeing the film, the Hall & Oats track will definitely put an extra spring in your step.
The King’s Speech- Alexandre Desplat
Let this pick represent the overall brilliance of Alexandre Desplat. He is easily my favourite composer at the moment (Fantastic Mr Fox, The Ghost Writer, Tree of Life, Harry Potter) and his scores are simply extraordinary. Moving between gentle, playful melodies and soaring epics, Desplat continues to deliver cinematic alchemy.