Inception: Music from the Motion Picture – Soundtrack Review
In the liner notes, Christopher Nolan remarks two things that really stick out when listening to the original score Hans Zimmer has provided. He says “how important the score would be to the film”, and it is, and the second being Hans Zimmer is “one of the most essential talents working in movies”. What he failed to mention, is that Hans Zimmer might be Christopher Nolan’s greatest asset. Inception is a twisty, dreamy movie, and Nolan wanted a score that would anchor the audience in, helping them through the confusion of the dreams the characters inhabit.
All of this is true. Zimmer’s score is at times, very abstract with big, loud pulsating strings and brass, a theme that’s almost robotic and menacing as it is the heartbeat for the film. But in tracks like “One Simple Idea” and “Old Souls”, we hear this levity rise. Nolan’s films have been about very flawed and troubled characters, but they’re also very sad and humble, and that’s what the sweeter side of Zimmer’s score provides. Lesser attuned ears will want to hear similar patterns in the music to Zimmer’s memorable The Dark Knight score, but that film featured a simple, terrifying rhythm and a few themes of hope compromised by despair.
But it isn’t a copy of The Dark Knight. It’s even more epic, but it has a deeper emotional core to it. It’s still dark and moody, like in “The Dream is Collapsing” or “Waiting for a Train”. Zimmer is getting to be Nolan’s best asset, for helping the audience go on the ride, a combo that maybe in another collaboration or two, might rank up there with Hitchcock/Herrmann, Spielberg/Williams, Burton/Elfman, and Scorsese/Rolling Stones. Zimmer has been giving us great scores for years, yet Inception: Music from the Motion Picture might be his most experimental. It’s one of the better scores from 2010.