As the summer ends and we move from blockbuster season to Oscar-bait season, one of the big contenders is David Fincher’s Gone Girl, an adaptation of the bestseller by Gillian Flynn. Fincher’s go-to composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross recently discussed the score in a Wall Street Journal interview. Reznor described what Fincher initially wanted, which may come as a surprise to fans of the NIN mastermind’s dark, electronic scores.
“[Fincher] said, ‘Think about the really terrible music you hear in massage parlors. The way that it artificially tries to make you feel like everything’s OK. And then imagine that sound starting to curdle and unravel.'”
Fincher responds to this in the piece, and he and disagrees, but only on a minor detail.
“I said a spa, not a massage parlor! … I was listening to that calming, placating music and thought, we need to tap into this. The movie is about the facade of the good neighbor, the good Christian, the good wife. So the notion was to start with music that’s attempting to give you a hug.”
The score also finds Reznor working with a live orchestra for the first time.
It’s worth pointing out that the idea Fincher came up with is pretty similar to what a series of musicians started doing years ago and began to be described as “vaporwave.” I’ve written about that here and discussed it at length with experimental musician James Ferraro. Of course these are young divisive musicians who were alternately mocked and revered by critics, but maybe now that an Oscar-winning composer is riffing on the same concept, some of those releases will get the second look they deserve. Seriously: “calming, placating music … that artificially tries to make you feel like everything’s ok …. starting to curdle and unravel”? Ramona Vektroid already made that album; it was fucking terrifying.
Gone Girl is in theaters 10/3