Hans Zimmer's latest team-up with director Christopher Nolan generates the type of output one would expect from their collaboration. Indeed, Inception strikes up the appropriate mood that Nolan sought to conjure for the movie but this time with less of a thematic presence than even The Dark Knight had going for it. For better or worse, this is the type of score Nolan demands for his films.
Much like the feel of his movies, the music associated with Nolan's films leaves one feeling a bit cold. With a director like him, it's all about the atmosphere and Zimmer does his best to oblige him in that regard. Sparse with its themes and heavy with its mood-setting chill, Zimmer's music inverts the electronic domain and grants us a synthesized palette delivered by orchestral means. Though inventive in concept, the payoff is limited due to the restrictions set in place by the film's demands.
The Inception score works sufficiently in the movie but it falls short when one seeks to engage it apart from the show and this is where the problem lies for individuals who are soundtrack fans. Here you have an emerging, marquee director that has a taste for music that is worlds apart from what the average fan seeks. At least, from what I seek, anyway. With this film, I think the music could have been a bit more crafty and should have delivered more of a haunting feeling, especially when you're traveling into the domain of dreams. Instead, it felt a bit too predictable and it certainly didn't venture into new ground, though the method in which it was recorded intended it to be.
Truthfully? The style of music heard in the Inception trailer
delivered more of a punch than the score itself did. I'm not saying the music is poor, rather, it's just not my "type" of soundtrack experience. A little too gloomy and atmospheric for my taste but why should we be surprised? Didn't you ever hear the score for The Prestige
Final Score: The score for Inception functions well with the film but left me on the outside of the dreamscape when I listened to the music apart from it. If atmospheric intensity is your thing -- and if you're mesmerized by the film itself -- than you'll be better off with this score than I was.