Review Summary: A perfect companion piece to David Fincher's dark and moody film; "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" is a cold, bleak, and otherworldy beast of a soundtrack that is a challenging and absorbing piece of music overall.The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
is a bleak, dark, and winding tale with no clear form or reason; a story with several climaxes and resolutions, acting as an emotionally exhausting labyrinth of convoluted storytelling. The first half is an extended introduction that takes its time getting to the point, while the latter part make up for it with a confounding and large amount of plot, subplot, and frenzied action that somehow makes sense when all is said and done. As a film, it’s somewhat disjointed and confusing; chaotic and sparse with unclear motives and events that come off as oddly translated and unevenly placed. Despite the multiple tracks in which the story rides, it’s held together by one indispensable force: the music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Now it seems a bit heavy handed to put so much praise into the effectiveness of a soundtrack, but it’s truly marvelous what the duo of musicians have done here. Teaming up once more, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross-who previously worked on 2010’s critically acclaimed, Oscar winning The Social Network
-have crafted the perfect companion piece to David Fincher’s dark and haunting re-imagining of The Girl With the Tattoo
. The music on this nearly three hour behemoth is staggeringly consummate for the film, which is a biting and often times disturbing depiction of the ugliness of humanity, especially in regards to violence against women. Cold and ethereal, Reznor and Ross’ score matches the frigid and desolate wintry landscape of Sweden, all while fitting perfectly with the brokenness of the characters who reside there.
Somewhere within the depths of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
lies some of Reznor and Ross’ most humanistic music to date. Falling somewhere between Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-IV
, and the duo’s previous collaboration, the soundtrack sounds terrifying and edgy, but largely eerily beautiful and mesmerizing. Tracks like “Hidden in the Snow” evoke a feeling of isolation, met with a feeling of dread and urgency. The panging strings chime with an uneasy tone, while the throbbing, mellow bass only furthers the unsettling atmosphere. This is where the soundtrack truly shines; creating an uncompromisingly dense and absorbing atmosphere that draws the listener into a menacing and gorgeous world of keys, samples, strings, and electronics.
It’s rather difficult to pin down the exact technical way to accurately describe The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
, as within its long runtime, the music makes radical shifts in tone and influence, and it makes them very, very often. The sounds range from industrial to drone, with ambient, dark ambient, and techno all making their appearances as well. It works, however, as the overall feeling
and presentation is shockingly cohesive. Never once does that pitch perfect companionship of the film’s aesthetic and the music’s tone ever break. It’s impressive, really, that the musicians behind the score were able to make a massive, varied record that is always so uncompromisingly ingenious in regards to what the film tries to get across.
However, it goes without saying that listening to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
is a massive undertaking, ambitious for even the most dedicated music listeners. It also must be said that the soundtrack works most effectively when paired with the film. Alone, the pieces are small pockets of atmospheric, absorbing music. Combined with the visceral and haunting film, the soundtrack then becomes something quite different. It’s easy to appreciate the creativity and sonic manipulations found here, but as a standalone listen, the score for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
feels a tad bit lacking without it’s visual companion.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have really hit one out of the park with this masterful work, combining the excellence of two musical minds into one, brilliantly cohesive package. The soundtrack takes what was so exceptional about The Social Network
, and expands it beyond imagination. The cold and bleak landscapes the music creates are unfathomably unique in their effectiveness, actually managing to be an integral part of the overall experience. Soundtracks like this one rarely come along, speaking volumes of the always magnificent music of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.