Perhaps the one aspect of Christopher Nolan’s cinema that just might be the most innovative of them all is the highly unusual soundtracks. Nolan has a strong vision for unconventional soundtracks that reflect his film’s deeper themes, and to that end he’s been known to push his composers to experiment and push beyond their normal limits.
His most obviously avant-garde soundtrack is probably that of “Inception”, composed by his most frequent musical collaborator: Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack uses sections of Édith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien” played at different tempos and distorted to varying degrees throughout the film. The film is also often credited with popularizing this deep boom”Sound BRAAAM“, which would become the defining sound of blockbuster movie soundtracks and movie trailers throughout the 2010s.
But “Inception” isn’t the only Nolan movie soundtrack based on big, weird ideas. While working on “Dunkirk”, Nolan told Zimmer to keep things as minimal as possible, saying, “I don’t want any emotion in the music.” He also requested that the film use an antique ticking pocket watch as a central part of its sound design. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Zimmer’s soundtrack for “Interstellar” seems like an exercise in deliberate excess, bombarding the audience with a wall of synthesizers, strings, and super-powered pipe organs throughout its darkest sequences. more emotionally intense.
That being said, Nolan’s high standard and his need to push boundaries also sometimes lead him to butt heads with his various songwriting collaborators. Nolan opened up about his collaboration with Zimmer in an interview with Classic FM“We fight like dogs and cats but in the best, most productive way.”