The Gone Girl soundtrack is another brilliant masterwork by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, opening up yet another dimension to the work of David Fincher. It’s as harmonious a marriage as the one between Steven Spielberg and John Williams, providing more than just background music, but a vital part of the storytelling. Having seen Gone Girl twice now I can say with confidence that it’s hard for me to separate the character of Amy Dunne from the music that operates, in many ways, as the stormy seas that churn beneath the chilly blonde’s facade.
Reznor and Ross did something similar with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, offering up Lisbeth’s mercurial underneath. But Amy is an enigma wrapped inside a riddle, thus the music has to both indulge in her inclination towards fantasy and reveal the darker truths about her. They hit it out of the park. It’s almost impossible to pick one track since it is a cohesive whole, ultimately. One track leading to the next track, carefully carrying the rhythm of the film without spilling a drop. This is Amy’s dreamscape you’re listening to and it helps to reveal what the character never will.
Without giving too much away, the narrative twists in the story are reflected in the score so that you go from a softness, romantic, lilting grooves into much more invigorating and alive riffs, all the while still echoing what is the musical and narrative through line. My favorite tracks are Technically, Missing, and Sugar Storm – which is like floating on a cotton candy cloud over a sea of sharks.
Like Home is unlike anything I’ve ever heard from these composers. It starts out like something from a Frank Capra movie. It is the crescendo of a thousand promises. So sweet, so sad, so alluring — the sound the heart makes each time we crack open a romance novel or receive a dozen roses. But then, it bends and crawls backwards, upsetting the carefully placed imagery that came before. Inside there somewhere, though, is a shrieking. A terrified, hollow cry for something we can never have. Sugar Storm is like a monster in a box, a pretty pretending. Technically, Missing is the dividing point – a splendid deep dive into limitless possibilities but then building, once again, in a completely different direction.
If you notice, this is a score about dualities. It is the one thing, but then it’s totally a different thing. That is how deeply embedded into the story it goes. Each track catches layers of sound, harmonious then discordant, like our perceptions of Amy. It is as though Amy herself is telling the composers what to convey for maximum effect but of course, the music betrays and reveals far more than Amy intends, thus there is continual conflict between the lilting romantic sheen and the craziness down below.
I’m not quite sure yet if this soundtrack is the best of the three they’ve done or if I’ve just listened to the other two so much this one automatically rises to the top. Either way, this is one you’re going to want to download and play constantly.
All three soundtracks are utterly different, so specific to their films but at the same time, fully realized works onto themselves. Gone Girl is nestled between the pulsating tightly wound Social Network score and the wildly off, explosive nature of Dragon Tattoo. Though this one is more controlled, it nonetheless is spirited by female energy, like Dragon Tattoo, with the same measure of control as the Social Network.
I find myself running out of adjectives to describe the work of these two talented composers. You don’t really need me to tell you anyway. You simply need to listen.