Film scores and soundtracks play a vital role in the cinematic experience. Sometimes a filmmaker uses previously recorded material, and in many cases, film scores are written by a composer hired to produce a song for a particular scene or a soundtrack for the entire project. The director and music composer work together to ideally achieve the perfect score, heighten the mood of the scenes and heighten the emotion of the film.
This element of filmmaking is essential to the success of the project. There are several musical masters in the industry who are known for composing phenomenal film scores. It is not easy for composer/musician to match the tone of the film or scene, therefore director and composer must understand each other. Many of the most memorable and popular movies have enhanced the viewer’s viewing experience by having brilliant scores. Many are so emblematic that they are easily recognizable to moviegoers.
The most visceral soundtrack of the modern age should (arguably) be the original score of joker. Masterfully composed by the Icelandic musician Hildur Guðnadottir, the score won numerous awards, including an Oscar. The film follows the life of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix† He is a mentally disturbed man who, after a series of accidents, finds himself in a downward spiral that leads to the creation of an iconic villain (The Joker).
The score for the joker had to reflect the dark and heavy tone, and did so successfully. Unlike the process of many other directors, Todd Phillips gave the Icelandic musician the script of the film and asked her to start composing the music on the spot. This led to a very raw and despondent soundtrack. The music lurks in the background at the right time, and it was helpful because it subtly revealed Arthur’s feelings without much use of dialogue. The director has said he gave Phoenix room to improvise in certain scenes. You can see that in the dance scene in the bathroom, where he casually dances in front of the mirror. This space given to the actor, mixed with the masterfully composed songs, turned out to be extremely effective and disturbing.
Requiem for a dream (2000)
The Grammy-nominated composer, Clint Mansell has written and composed scores for numerous films, but his talent and sensibility were really revealed in the film Requiem for a dream. It helped him jump-start his career as a writer/composer. It’s a film about four Coney Islanders drug addicts, who are willing to do whatever it takes to get their next fix.
The soundtrack was a breakthrough hit and rippled through the minds and ears of movie buffs for years. The piece called “Lux Aeterna” became the film’s most iconic song. It’s a haunting orchestration that further enhances the sense of desperation and despair within the characters. It also sounds like it came straight out of a Halloween movie† It is an experience similar to watching a horror movie. This achievement strengthened the collaboration between the director, Darren Aronofsky, and the British composer as they worked together on multiple projects.
Licorice Pizza (202)
Located in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1970s, Licorice Pizza achieves what many movies don’t: it transports the viewer to a specific period in time. Within the soundtrack, the choice of songs and the synchronicity with the scenes could not fit better. As a viewer watching this movie, you feel the sense of being young and free in a simpler time, because of this aforementioned synchronicity.
The score includes songs from David Bowie, Nina Simone, Paul McCartney, Chuck Berry and more. In addition to the meticulously chosen songs, the director directed Paul Thomas Anderson manages to achieve something beyond just entertainment. He was able to create an eclectic mix of moods within the story. It seems like there is a song for every mood and every emotion. The numbers complement the actions on the screen. Essentially, this film score adds depth to the story and to the characters, making the audience emotionally involved in the film and caring about the characters.
With an unforgettable and intoxicating soundtrack, Motive became one of the classiest and slickest action movies of the decade. In addition, the scrupulously picked numbers fit perfectly with this image of a gunfighter with a car. The movie plays a brilliant Ryan Gosling, who plays a mysterious Hollywood stuntman – also a flight driver.
The songs helped elevate the story significantly. In fact, the sound editing for this film was even nominated for an Oscar. As the driver cruises through Los Angeles in his 1973 Chevrolet Malibu, 80s-inspired synthesized melodies play in the background, such as “Nightcall.” It’s an unexpected soundtrack for a movie like this, but the atmosphere and tone of the movie resonate perfectly with the filmmaker’s intent. It was a bold choice and it certainly worked for the public.
Halloween is more than four decades old, but it is a true classic. Regardless of the period in which it was made, when we talk about film scores, this film has one of the most appropriate and iconic of them all. The story takes place 15 years after Michael Myers kills his sister and escapes from a mental hospital, only to start killing again.
Expertly directed by the great Jan Timmerman, this movie is thrilling and frightening, and the haunting soundtrack certainly heightened the stories. Similar to psycho, the score of this film was revolutionary. Interestingly, it was composed by the director himself. It is said that producers could not hire a composer for this project due to the small budget, and since John had studied music before, he did it. He also made the bold decision to use synthesizers (which are rarely used in horror movie making) to create the dissonant theme that is incredibly disturbing everywhere.
NEXT: 8 Movies With Better Soundtrack Than Plot