Soundtracks can be one of the most important parts of filmmaking. In some cases they can make or break a movie. If you haven’t noticed the soundtrack then it’s probably because the composer has done a decent job. If you did notice it then it could be because the composer has either done a really terrible job, or a really brilliant one. Here are 3 movies that I think have outstanding soundtracks, including a link to the best pieces from the movies.
Shutter Island – Max Richter.
This is one of the most underrated of Scorcese’s films and one of the reasons it excels beyond the typical psychological thriller is the soundtrack. Max Richter produces many incredibly haunting and evocative tracks that really highlight main character Teddy Daniels (played by Leonardo Di Caprio’s) emotional fragility.
The standout piece from the film is ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ which I’ve linked below. It starts out as a really solemn piece with a hint of hope, then the strings hit around the 2 minute mark which are then further echoed around 3:20 minutes in and you are just blown away.
The Thin Red Line – Hans Zimmer
Often overlooked in terms of 90s soundtracks and Hans Zimmer soundtracks, The Thin Red Line is a brilliant war film that tries to avoid the more desensitized action of its contemporaries and focusses on the psychological effects that WW2 had on its combatants. It’s easily identifiable as a Terrence Malick piece and it’s arguably his best work. For me, it is also Hans Zimmer’s best work. He manages to capture the epic scale of the conflict; the adrenaline, the power but also the vast array of emotions that it encapsulated. Fear, strength, guilt, duty, it’s all there.
The melanesian choir produces some really beautiful and inspiring pieces in the film, but the stand out composition is ‘Journey to the line’. It is such a good piece that it’s used in pretty much every film trailer these days and that’s because it just creates this feeling of action inside the viewer, it sucks you into the screen and doesn’t let go.
Waltz with Bashir – Max Richter
Yes it’s Max Richter again, but he’s got to be one of the best composers working today. Waltz With Bashir is one of the greatest animated films ever made and demonstrates what emotional gravity can be achieved with the format. It chronicles the memories of a solider during the Lebanese War of 1982. Richter, with the soundtrack, manages to convey the emotional toll and damage that the war is doing to writer/director Ari Folman, whose experiences the film is based on. It combines beautifully with the striking animation, where the use of colour really works in twine with the music.
The stand out piece for me is ‘Haunted Ocean’ (though ‘What had they done’ comes very close) I’ve linked the scene with it because they go hand in hand. Together they create the most powerful images in the film. It just an incredibly haunting capturing of human nature.
That’s it for today though I will definitely do more as this was great fun to write. Let me know what soundtracks you love in the comments below.