Music on Screen
A selection of Exeposé Screen and Music writers discuss their favourite film/TV soundtracks.
Utopia (the UK version, not the poor US remake) is probably the best piece of television you’ve never seen or heard of. You should go watch it! Everything within the series is masterfully constructed, but by far the most unique and exhilarating element is the music by Cristobel Tapia de Veer; it is a symphony of insanity, uncanniness and a constant imposing sense of psychotic glee. Tapia de Veer uses the themes of the show, particularly the relationship between the natural world and humanity, in such a fantastically original way, often distorting and slowly changing common sounds associated with nature, such as breathing or birdsong, into malevolent white noise that fits with the rhythm of the soundtrack. This adds both an additional level of detail to the score but also, within the show, perfectly represents the tension and intrigue faced by the protagonists in the increasingly terrifying and unravelling series of events they are forced into. Additionally, the use of motifs throughout the soundtrack result in one organic being of pure horror, with music choices inevitably leading to shock on behalf of the viewer, as well as having those constantly catchy songs in their head. – Archie Lockyer
After critically acclaimed work on films such as Black Panther and Tenet, it is no wonder Ludwig Goransson was taken on as the composer for The Mandalorian. The main title track particularly stuck out to me because of the strong use of bass recorder, electric guitar, drum rhythm and especially the slightly hypnotic flute tones. As Goransson stepped back into his inner-child and stepped away from the computer, he filled up his studio with real instruments. Through this, he was able to create something completely new and unique in itself while still capturing the gritty, worn-out Star Wars ambience and straying away from copying the atmosphere John Williams created with the original films. As soon as the theme tune plays, you cannot help but immediately associate it with The Mandalorian in that gunslinger, space-cowboy sort of way; probably because of Ennio Morricone’s influence in the music that tilts the hat off to the scoring of 1970’s Westerns (the fact that he included a recording of the bounty hunters boot spurs in the track makes this aspect even more captivating). Towards the end, you also start to sense that child-like mystery which was a heavy theme in the show as the soft and twinkly bell sounds come into play, immediately reminding you of ‘The Child’ (known as Baby Yoda to most). I am absolutely in awe of his talent in being able to craft the music to the series in such a unique and fitting way. The entire soundtrack was a masterpiece, and I am highly anticipating his music in season 2 which has just been recently released! – Arjumand Qobil
Without Korzeniowski’s soundtrack, this underappreciated masterpiece would not be what it is
Abel Korzeniowski’s hauntingly beautiful and profoundly tense orchestral soundtrack speaks not only to the nervous atmosphere of the neo-noir psychological thriller Nocturnal Animals, but also to the stylistic brilliance of the film’s writer, producer, and director: renowned fashion designer Tom Ford. Although it doesn’t possess the catchiness or iconic status of a Star Wars or Jurassic Park, the soundtrack possesses an esoteric ability to both perfectly exist in the background of the action, while being integral to the rising action, and crucial to the stylistic vision of Ford. The film’s opening scene in which Susan’s bizarre yet, upon analysis, tortured artistic installation flashes onto our screen is paired with Korzeniowski’s ‘Wayward Sister’s’ and from this point on we are intrinsically transfixed by the haunting strings which ultimately are integral to this tense, stylistically incredible, psychological thriller. Which, as all good soundtracks should, both subtly adds and brilliantly mirrors the movie as a whole. Without Korzeniowski’s soundtrack, this underappreciated masterpiece would not be what it is; Tom Ford’s fashionably stylish vision would not truly have come to fruition. – Tom Hale
Zimmer’s score elevates the story unfolding into something more than just another racing film; the heroism invoked by the orchestral instrumental placing the two protagonists onto a pedestal
Ron Howard’s 2013 masterpiece Rush tells the story of the famous 1976 F1 World Championship battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. It is accompanied by the stunning score of Hans Zimmer, alongside classic 70s rock music to evoke a sense of glamour and energy. Zimmer’s score elevates the story unfolding into something more than just another racing film; the heroism invoked by the orchestral instrumental placing the two protagonists onto a pedestal that sets them apart from the rest of their fellow drivers. Such is the strength of the score, that it expertly crafts the difference between the fast, furious and erratic party lifestyle of Hunt and the methodical, unrelenting drive to win of Lauda. All with Formula 1-esque, inch-perfect precision. The scenes of Lauda’s return at Monza are expertly crafted, with Zimmer’s score guiding the movie from sombre reflection to joyous triumph in a matter of seconds. The film’s final scene, as both iconic cars appear over the crest of a hill to the narration of Daniel Brühl is complemented by the euphoric and rousing tones. It shows the willpower and human spirit of the tale against the melancholy of it; of Hunt’s personal struggles after his championship victory and Lauda’s sadness at losing not only a rival but also a friend, whilst coming to terms with his life-changing injuries. In short, Zimmer’s score is the closest you can get to depicting Formula 1 through music, summed up by a quote from James Hunt: “the closer you are to death the more alive you feel.” – Harry Scott-Munro