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Gone Girl by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (Review)

posted Oct 6, 2014, 1:22 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Oct 6, 2014, 1:29 PM ]

There is no denying that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross can effectively build a score that resonates deep within the listener. Their scores are a fantastic example of music working with the image, and with Fincher they have become a pretty powerful trio of storytellers. Gone Girl is by far their best score to date. As much as I loved The Social Network, it shouldn’t have won the Oscar. Also, The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo was very absorbing but had some structural problems (in that it was a giant blob of score). With Gone Girl it really seems like they nailed the perfectly structured and stylized life unspooled that Fincher was going for.

Gone Girl is that perfect twisty thriller score that utilizes Reznor’s and Ross’ sonic textures to paint this gentle picture of marriage. That gentle picture starts to deteriorate as the plot moves along. As new information is revealed, the score sort of reflects the interior breakdown of the characters whose lives are slowly coming unspooled. What makes a Reznor/Ross score unique are of course the synth textures they come up with. They were able to craft some pretty unique stretches of score that build rhythms to set up certain tones. In fact, the score can be pretty manipulative at times in very subtle ways. I found myself attaching to certain characters only to turn on them when an incriminating plot point was revealed. The score played a big part on the ride that I was going on, and it is indeed a ride. This film is just an expertly crafted entertainer, nothing more. Part crime drama, part modern noir mystery, part old-fashioned thriller. Gone Girl gives us lots to sink our teeth into both visually and musically. Fincher’s vision certainly brings out something unique from Reznor/Ross.

Gone Girl works at a certain level to really dig itself under your skin in a slow and methodical fashion. The score is probably their most structured work to date as it paints quite a graspable narrative even though their process is not to always score to picture. This idea of a perfect marriage being a facade to a deeply disturbing inner turmoil allowed the score to be exactly that. In Reznor’s own words he wanted to create a sense of “rot” from within. The music effectively does all of this, especially when you see it with the film. Again, a Reznor/Ross score will probably never be a wholly pleasant standalone listening experience. So if you’re looking for an album to jam out to in the car, look elsewhere as scores should never be assessed for that quality. If you want to hear a supremely effective and stylized thriller that consumes you, then jump right in.