Thursday, September 6, 2012


Music plays a huge role in movies. If you’ve ever watched a movie on mute this is very evident. Try watching a scary movie without that signature horror movie song and it’s suddenly not very scary anymore. Songs have the power to evoke every kind of emotion possible. Composers and movie directors take full advantage of this fact when deciding what music to put with the movie. One such movie with a very powerful soundtrack is Inception. Inception is a drama/thriller/suspense genre and the music in the movie plays a big role in evoking that feeling of suspense. Music plays a huge role in affecting the pathos of the audience. In Everything’s an Argument by Andrea Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz, they make a great statement about how certain things can affect our emotions. They state, “you already know that words, images, and sounds can arouse emotions…the stirrings they generate are often physical. You’ve likely had the clichéd, ‘chill down the spine’ or felt something in the ‘pit of your stomach’ when a speaker hits precisely the right note” (Lunsford/ Ruszkiewicz 40). I think this is a very accurate statement and the same thing can be said for when a song hits just the right note. Much of the music in this movie is fast-paced to make the audience have that feeling of anticipation. It’s honestly a little exhausting to be constantly on edge like that for 2 hours. Even during simple dialogue scenes you can hear that subtle, fast-paced music that makes you think something could happen at any minute. If that’s what they were going for then it is very effective, but personally I think they could have slowed down the music in some parts of the movie. However, the music does a very nice job of creating a tone or mood in two scenes in particular. The scene I’m referring to is the climax (one of them) of the movie when the extractors finally accomplish their job of inception; planting an idea into the mind of the dreamer. There’s a moment during this scene when you don’t know if the character is going to have enough time to accomplish what he needs to and as this is happening the music is building in volume and pace to set this tone of anticipation and anxiousness.  It’s very effective because even though I have seen this movie countless times, I still always hold my breath in hopes they’ll accomplish their goal. The second scene/song that I think does a terrific job with affecting the emotions of the audience is the last scene of the movie. In Understanding Movies by Louis Giannetti, he makes a comment about the last scene of a movie that I think really applies to Inception. He says “the final scene from a movie is often the most important. Because of its privileged position, it can represent the filmmaker’s summing up of the significance of the previous scenes” (Giannetti, 211). This is so true of Inception. The whole movie Leo DiCaprio is trying to find a way to return home to his children while struggling with what’s reality and what’s a dream. The person who needs him to perform this last job of inception has promised to get him home if he can complete the mission. The last scene shows DiCaprio arriving home in the United States and then returning home finally. The music in the background is very dramatic and triumphant. But at the same time, it has sad or eerie undertones that make it hard to relax. The music continues building suspense which makes the audience wonder what could possibly happen next. When DiCaprio returns home, he has to spin his top that confirms to him he’s back to reality and not still in the dream world. While the top is still spinning he sees his children and is so overcome by joy and relief that he doesn’t wait to see if it topples or keeps going. At this point, the music slows down a bit so all you can hear is the sad undertones as opposed to the louder triumphant sounds. The top starts to slow down but then cuts to black so the audience is left not knowing if he’s back or not. The music at the same time just leaves us hanging. When listening to it you can tell there should be one more note, but it just ends.  
I think this soundtrack is great in certain parts, but certain parts is a little overkill.

rating: 3  1/2 

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