Soundtrack. It’s the thing you’re humming as you come out of the movie theater or three weeks later when you have a cathartic reaction to a particular beat in the film. It’s the one that becomes inseparable from the images, the faces, the sounds and the images, faces and sounds become inseparable from it. It’s the thing that brings the film back to you when you’re listening to it on your iPod, looking out of a train window.
But what makes a film score click? Is it how well it justifies the narrative, the tone, the mood of the film? Is it the ability of the score to stand alone, as an artistic piece, in isolation from the film? I think it’s how much it contributes to the experience of the film, irrespective of what instrument is used or what notes are played out. For an artist everything and anything can be an instrument and any combination of notes may make sense if it is in complete sync with the image onscreen. With that, here is the list of top movie soundtracks of the 21st century so far, ranked in order of their individual achievement.
12. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) by Javier Navarrete
The challenge in the composition of the score for Pan’s Labyrinth was the same as in the making of the film. The conflicting ideas and worlds of a child’s fantasy and the horrors of a Fascist Spain, have to be presented in a way that both become a part of each other, and both are equally convincing. And so the score not only underlines the bleakness of the period the film is set in, but also the beauty of the Princess’s legend. That level of poetry is just too good to resist.