Between 1988 and 2010, composer Hanz Zimmer has had a hand in nearly every major action film, whether it’s him behind the keys or one of his numerous, Remote Control Productions (formerly known as Media Ventures) protégés like John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams, or Klaus Badelt. His excellent work on director Christopher Nolan’s 2008 international blockbuster The Dark Knight, was disqualified for Oscar consideration due to too many cooks (composers) in the kitchen, a handicap that doesn’t apply to Nolan’s 2010 follow-up, Inception. Zimmer’s signature move, a four- to eight-chord round that builds from a subtle breeze to an F5 tornado, serves as the foundation for Inception’s dizzying score, and the addition of Smiths/Cribs guitarist Johnny Marr, who appears on eight of the twelve cuts, dutifully expands the layers of Zimmer’s melodies, much like the dream building that occurs onscreen. There are moments that bring to mind Vangelis' moody, jazz-kissed work on Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, but Inception's backbone is pure Zimmer. It’s beautiful and heroic, unhinged and unspeakably melancholy, and the finest and most fully realized soundtrack this prolific composer has crafted to date.
by James Christopher Monger