I've watch thousands and thousands of films in my twenty one years on this earth and actually being able to list my five all-time greatest films at this early stage of my life as a film student too, some may say “It’s more or less impossible to list favourite because it keeps on changing”. For me to say; Vanilla Sky, The Fountain, Gattaca, Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford and Drive are my top five films of all times, people may question my judgement on films with Vanilla Sky being number 1 and has been for the past 10 years. But that is for another blog to describe how Vanilla Sky changed my life both in cinema and life. Personally to make the perfect film all the elements must be ticked off; cinematography, narrative, character depth, plot and personally most importantly soundtrack. I want to leave the cinema speechless, I want to be not able to describe why I love it and I want the feeling of “je ne sais quoi”.
With great films comes by great directors with; cinematography, narrative and so on. The director’s job is to take the script and artistically and beautifully put in on the screen and show it to the world. But to create music for the film how can the composer visually see it music? And with that it is more or less impossible but yet composers like; Clint Mansell, Michael Nyman, John Williams, Warren Ellis and even Nick Cave are to me the untold and unsung heroes for cinema. Yes “Requiem for a Dream” is one of the most noticeable films both cinematography and soundtrack. I would hear people say “That film is F**king amazing and the soundtrack is beautiful” and phrase Darren Aronofsky and wouldn’t even know Clint Mansell. I’m not discrediting Darren at all but personally the soundtrack is one of the major reasons why “Requiem for a Dream” so dam powerful and successful. If it wasn’t for Clint Mansell creating “Lux Aeterna” with the beautiful and yet daring violin orchestra I couldn’t imagine those last scenes of Requiem for a Dream being that gut clenching and giving you goose-bumps.
In the last scenes of Andrew Dominik “Assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford” when Jesse knowing of his assassination he walks and stands on the chair with Robert Ford standing behind his hero waiting to shoot him from behind. You can see how he feels and you can feel what he feels with Warren Ellis and Nick Cave creating the song for the soundtrack “What Must Be Done”. I could imagine unwilling killing my hero and this song coming on and that’s what Ellis and Cave wanted. The title of the song is the scene “Do what must be done”, Robert killing his childhood hero to save himself and be credited as a hero and when he does kill Jesse it all fails and his is discredited and hated by many, “Song for Bob” is truly is a song for Robert., living with the guilt and shame of not wanting to kill his hero. With song perfectly ending with the narrator ending the film “The shotgun would ignite, and Ella Mae would scream, but Robert Ford would only lay on the floor and look at the ceiling, the light going out of his eyes before he could find the right words.”
The favourite films that I have listed I have all the soundtracks on my iPod and at times I would listen to them and somewhat imagine myself in the film and in my favourite scenes. I would imagine I’m Tom Cruise running through the empty streets of Times Square, kissing Rachel Weisz for the last time, being Ethan Hawke on board a shuttle ship leaving earth and shooting my hero. That is what a great film with the greater soundtrack is; thinking about the film, feeling the film, hearing it and wanting to go back to the film without even watching it.
Re-read this article and listen on youtube to Clint Mansell - Requiem for a dream Lux Aeterna, Michael Nyman - The Departure or Warren Ellis and Nick Cave - Song For Bob at the same time and you can see that just this paragraph can be magnitude a thousand times more.