Music maketh the film, well that’s what I think anyway. A fantastic score, an interesting soundtrack, a scene that uses music so well that you can’t stop thinking about – these are all things that can make a good film great, and a great film something altogether wonderful. Andrew and I have put together a collection of our favourite music in 2014 film. We’ve each picked out favourite score, favourite soundtrack and favourite use of music in an individual scene. Check them out after the jump.
Score: Only Lovers Left Alive, Runner Up: Fury
NOTE: So many others could have featured here. It was tough to choose just two. The Double, The Grand Budapest Hotel, It follows, Birdman, Under the Skin and Tom at the Farm.
I was immediately obsessed with the phenomenal Only Lovers Left Alive score by Jozef van Wissem and Jarmusch’s own band SQURL. We purchased it on vinyl, ordered it in from the U.S. Steven Price’s (Gravity) score did a lot of the emotional heavy lifting in David Ayer’s impressive tank drama and I credit my increased appreciation for the film as a whole to his work.
Soundtrack: Pride, Runner Up: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
A tough one to split, again. What made Pride such enormous fun was the way that the director utilised music and montage, while never forgetting to create substantial characters and bring the best out of the cast. There is certainly a musical-esque feel to this film at times, brought about by the film’s high energy and the brilliant 80’s disco soundtrack. I don’t know if the soundtrack to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is available anywhere yet, but it is one of many striking elements of this immensely cool and beautiful black and white Iranian vampire western.
Scene: Mommy, THAT montage, Runner Up: Girlhood, Hotel
Mommy contains the 2014 scene of the year and not only is it an incredibly conceived and executed montage, the accompanying music is glorious. It may be about the greatest montage I have ever witnessed and it affected me more than any other moment in cinema this year. David Ehrlich used the music in his Top 25 of the Year video and I welled up again. [image above not from scene – we don’t want to ruin it!].
I never thought I would be saying this about a Rihanna song, but the use of the song ‘Diamonds’ in Girlhood – a sequence where Vic and her friends book a hotel room for the night, dress up, drink and sing and dance – is outstanding. This is an act of rebellion, on some levels, but an embrace of the freedom to do what they want to do. The entire song plays and the camera never leaves they girls as they sing along jubilantly. Beautiful.
Score: The Double, Runner-up: Only Lovers Left Alive
The Double score has stuck with me in the months since I saw the film. It’s tense, creepy tones perfectly create and reflect the weird, otherworldly feel of the film. Listen to it when you’re alone at night and freak yourself the hell out. Only Lovers Left Alive contains the most sensual, sexy music of 2014. From the earthy Moroccan tones, to the depressed indie rock, the score does such a wonderful job of reflecting the characters moods and mindsets. The score on gorgeous red vinyl is one of my favourite purchases this year.
Other scores I love include: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Under the Skin, Tom at the farm, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Enemy.
Soundtrack: Pride, Runner-up: Mommy
Pride is so much fun. A mix of Brit-pop, disco tunes and rock music, it’s such a joy to listen to and works so well with the time and events it is accompanying. This has easily been my most played soundtrack of 2014. Mommy soundtrack isn’t available yet to my knowledge, so I haven’t had the chance to enjoy it since I saw the film several months ago. However, I do remember being completely enthralled by it. THAT montage! The spinning of the shopping trolley in the park, drunken singing – it’ s such a great mix, so carefully chosen.
Other soundtracks I love include: Guardians of the Galaxy, While We’re Young, Sunshine on Leith
Scene: Girlhood, hotel scene, The Skeleton Twins, THAT scene
In a film that is so depressing in many ways, the hotel scene in Girlhood is a moment of pure joy. The girls have rented a hotel room for the night and have dressed up in the clothes the stole earlier. They are away from their problems, their families and the people who judge them. For this night they the people they want to be, and they dance to ‘Diamond’s by Rihanna with a lightness in their hearts. and rhythm in their limbs. In terms of making me laugh, The Skeleton Twins scene featuring ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ by Starship, is the one that got me like no other this year. I still smile when I think about the goofiness of it all.
I asked on Twitter and Facebook for your favourites, and the following are some of the answers you provided me.
Score/soundtrack: Boyhood, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy, Whiplash, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, The Great Beauty, Mommy, Only Lovers Left Alive, Under the Skin, The Dead Lands, Force Majeure, Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, Birdman, Locke, Interstellar, The Guest, Skeleton Twins, Wish I Was Here, We are the Best, Inside Llewyn Davis.
Scenes: ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ in The Skeleton Twins, ‘Ligeti’s Requiem’ in Godzilla, Solomon singing in 12 Years a Slave, ‘White Lies’ in A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, ‘Time in a Bottle’ in X-Men: Days of Future Past, The opening scene with the choir and the rooftop party in The Great Beauty.