2010 in Review: Elizabeth's Favorite Film Scores

in

Inception

I've both read and heard it said recently that the best film score is one the viewer doesn't notice. I disagree fervently with this statement. The best film score complements the film perfectly and doesn't distract from the action onscreen, but is still distinct enough to stand on its own. Shoddy film music can ruin a movie (for me, at least), but a great film score serves to make a good movie even better. That being said, here is some of my favorite soundtrack work for movies I saw in 2010.

5. Federico Jusid, El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes). A simple, plaintive theme is used in Jusid's score for the 2009 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner. Since the Argentinean suspense film opened in American theaters in 2010, I’m including it in my list. [Don's review]
How to see/hear: The film is available on Blu-ray and DVD, and the soundtrack is available on CD.

4. Carter Burwell, True Grit -- It seems Burwell's fantastic score isn't eligible for an Oscar nomination because it depends too much on 19th century hymn music (particularly "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms"). Regardless, the music serves as a perfect partner for the Coen Brothers' Western. Copland-esque chords dominate the soundtrack; Burwell's work adds to the old-timey feel of the movie. [Mike's review]
How to see/hear: The film is still in theaters, and the soundtrack is available on CD.

3. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network -- This movie about the 21st-century invention that is Facebook uses a techno-influenced score by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and composer/producer Atticus Ross. The music is electronic, with a fluidity that fits the ultramodern plot of the film. Reznor and Ross's work is one of the most innovative soundtracks of the year. [Jette's review]
How to see/hear: The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on Jan. 11, and the soundtrack is available on CD and MP3 download.

2. Hans Zimmer, Inception -- Zimmer's music adds to the chaotic feel of Nolan's psychological drama. It is intense and almost goosebump-inducing on its own. Plus, I love that Zimmer based the complete score off of Edith Piaf's "Non, je ne Regrette Rien," as that song plays a large role in the film. Unlike Burwell's hymn-influenced score, though, the Piaf song's influence is far more subtle. [Jenn's review]
How to see/hear: The film is available on Blu-ray and DVD, and the soundtrack is available on CD and, interestingly, on vinyl (LP).

1. Rachel Portman, Never Let Me Go -- Hands down, my favorite film music for the year. Portman's thoughtful, elegant composition is strong enough to be enjoyed on its own merit, but also works very well with Romanek's gorgeous film. The dystopian drama is only made better by the addition of Portman's beautiful string-laden soundtrack. [my review]
How to see/hear: The film will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 1, and the soundtrack is currently available on CD.