Fiercely surreal: ‘Inception’ score benefits from Hans Zimmer, Johnny Marr

07.14.10 7 years ago

Warner Bros. Pictures

Like the movie itself, the score to “Inception” deserves a revisit.

As stars were lining up for the premiere of “Inception in Los Angeles last night,  I was able to catch an early screening in New York.

As our resident movie critic Drew McWeeny so skillfully said, it’s “a logical and orderly descent into a trippy but airtight” character exploration, and director Christopher Nolan “isn’t interested in offering you up easy comfort at the end of this experience, and he doesn’t care about making you feel good.”

Just as much could be said of its score, crafted by the omnipresent and lauded composer Hans Zimmer, who’s managed to win one Oscar (for “The Lion King,” no less). But Disney this is not. These series of turbulent, dizzying compositions combined familiar elements and signatures with douses of surreality. There’s crunchy pizzicato, murky swarms of horns swiveling on a turn in the synths and, of course, the welcome, weird contributions of legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

Zimmer lets a piano get the viewer feeling sentimental, but freezes the feeling as strings dive to remind you that nothing is quite what it seems. Certainly, the music to “Inception” is dream-like — as it should be, considering the theme — but even in times of peace in the flick, a nightmare is just a “kick” away.

And you don’t have to take my word for it. Awards watcher Greg Ellwood says Zimmer should be up for Best Score at the Oscars: Zimmer is “slowly joining the ranks of John Williams as one of the most significant composers to work on the silver screen.”

Furthermore, check out Marr, Zimmer and a 20-piece orchestra perform at the film’s premiere after-party last night, posted below via uStream. Note that only the drummer couldn’t be bothered to dress up; a sweaty Zimmer can’t help but to talk all over Marr during the interview; around the 19:20 mark, the bass from the electric drums is so heavy it clips the audio; and that our stand-in Edith Piaf could’ve probably used an ear monitor;

Speaking of which, I found an inclusion of Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” in the film’s soundtrack cute, considering Marion Cotillard played the late French singer in “La vie en Rose.” As viewers will soon see, the song is pivotal for the protagonists’ survival.

Marr has most recently been playing guitar for The Cribs, and before that, with Modest Mouse.

Zimmer said he envisioned only one guitar for the score and Marr was the man he called for the job. We don’t blame him.

“Inception” is in theaters Friday (July 16).

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