From the moment Hollywood announced the remake of the Swedish bestseller, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, one could only be skeptical. Having read the books, and seen the original Swedish films, I questioned why there was a need for an English language remake. Then it was announced that David Fincher would helm the project, and he would collaborate once again with the Oscar award winning team of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to create the score. That was where my skepticism started to fade, and then completely fell to the wayside upon seeing the teaser trailer in June and hearing the first few teases of the soundtrack.
Flash forward about six months and the wait is almost over for the movie, the soundtrack, released earlier this month, is nothing short of pure genius on the part of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. From beginning to end, Reznor and Ross offer up another hauntingly beautiful score that you can almost be sure will land them in the Oscar race again this year.
Reznor and Ross seem to have become David Fincher’s go to people for movie scores, thanks in part to their award winning score to last year’s “The Social Network”. And this time they bring to the table almost three hours of music that is truly amazing to listen to, even before any of us can see how the score it fits into, and weaves itself through the frame of the movie. It truly stands alone as its own work of music, a hybrid of sounds from Reznor’s previous projects like Nine Inch Nails and How to Destroy Angels, who actually have a place on the soundtrack.
The nearly three hour long score to the movie is bookended with two cover songs, the first being the cover of the Led Zeppelin classic, “The Immigrant Song” and instead of doing vocals himself, Reznor handed the reigns to Karen O of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs who delivers a stellar performance. From the opening notes of Karen’s vocals as they blend flawlessly over the electronically manipulated synth and heavy drum beats, you know that this entire soundtrack will be a ride that only someone like Trent Reznor can take you on. This isn’t some cut rate Zeppelin cover, but a completely fresh take on the classic song.
The final song of Reznor’s opus is a bit surprising if you know its origin. The song “Is Your Love Strong Enough” was originally done by Brian Ferry of Roxy Music for a different movie soundtrack, Ridley Scott’s 1985 movie “Legend”. This time around the song gets a complete makeover by Reznor and Ross’s latest side project, How to Destroy Angels. Gone is the cheesy 80’s power ballad like qualities of the original and in its place is a simple and powerful song. The solitary an almost angelic voice of Reznor’s wife, Mariqueen Maandig, begins the song before it eventually moves into the hard hitting electronic beats that you would expect from a How to Destroy Angels track, and you even get to hear a few backing vocals by Reznor himself.
In between these two songs lies a nearly three hour long score for the movie. Reznor and Ross have created a dark, brooding, moody and amazing instrumental that sets the tone for the very dark subject matter of the movie, featuring delicate piano tracks, deep bass drum tracks and all matters of music in between. Even on its own without seeing the film, the score itself is a stand-alone masterpiece that is worth a listen and enough to make any Nine Inch Nails fan happy.
For a taste, you can watch the official video for “The Immigrant Song” below.
By Christina Lawler