Personal Favourite Film Soundtracks

It recently occurred to me how the films that I have been watching lately have had brilliant soundtracks and ones which I have been listening to over and over again. So here is a list of my personal favourite film soundtracks.

I re-watched the Tarantino Classic Reservoir Dogs not so long ago and it once again reminded of how brilliant the all 70’s soundtrack is which sees “Stuck In The Middle of You” be played in time to Mr Blonde cutting someone’s ear off. Sticking with Tarantino it is only fair to mention Pulp Fiction which sees some unconventional songs such as “Jungle Boogey” turn into a classic moment.

500 Days of Summer also holds one of the best soundtracks which is one of the main highlights to the unusual non-stereotypical rom-com, with song “Sweet Disposition” constantly being in your head after. Similar film Juno also brings to the table a very up-beat warm soundtrack that again is a highlight and credit to it’s film.

Most recently in cinema’s both Inside Llewyn Davis and Her have produced amazing soundtracks which I have not stopped listening to as well as a high standard to 2014 films. Inside Llewyn Davis really shows off folk music and Oscar Isaac’s talents whilst Her’s mixture of synthetic scores and songs such as “The Moon Song” is just beautiful and rather complimentary to Spike Jonze’s creation.

Two of my all time favourite films also hold two of my all time favourite soundtracks. Drive is brilliant with such a upbeat award winning score with songs “Night call” and “Real Hero” being amongst the highlights.  Donnie Darko my all time top film holds a great score which compliments and foreshadows every event with the famous and iconic “Mad World” being the highlight.

Do you agree? What are your personal favourite soundtracks?

Inside Llewyn Davis (2014)

Genre: Drama, Music

Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman

Rating: ★★★★★

Inside Llewyn Davis is a film that I’ve been anticipating very much ever since I saw early advertisements and trailers and it lived right up to my expectation. Beautifully-crafted and with an inspiring story, the Coen brothers have created a reflective film that many will be able to relate to. Stunningly directed along with amazing performances from the entire all-star cast, Inside Llewyn Davis is in some ways a master-piece topped with a great soundtrack tipped to win Oscars.

Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) is a young folk-singer trying to establish a career as a soloist; we follow his life for a week as he attempts to navigate the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961 in the harsh cold winter. Llewyn is struggling, losing hope and is being eaten away at by all the negatives in his life that for him, seem to be growing. Homeless he sleeps and crashes on various couches, some are his friends some are just mutual strangers from the industry. In a week he finds himself in a lot of places, on a lot of couches and being stared at by a lot of strangers.

The only thing Llewyn seems to have is his music and with that he grasps so tightly that it seems he pushes away all other people and relationships.  As an audience we establish such deep sympathy for him, despite obviously having a tortured soul he is a man with good intentions however he always seems to bring bad-luck and sadness wherever he goes. An angry Carey Mulligan, playing June, a fellow musician, shouts, lectures and spits telling Llewyn that the only good thing he could ever do on this planet is to not reproduce, and that sums up how the character of Llewyn comes across.

Llewyn Davis represents a lot of people, “drifters” who try and make their mark on the world, at one point he crashes on the couch of Al Cody (Adam Driver) another folk singer and just like Llewyn he has the same box full of unsold albums hidden away. Inside Llewyn Davis isn’t just showing the hard-times folk singers had in 60’s America, or people of that era in general, but it delivers a strong message to everyone who has a passion in a competitive area and is struggling to make their mark having to choose between their passion and “existing”.

The film displays an all-star cast; John Goodman plays an engrossing drug addict who only dampens the motivation and spirits of Llewyn even more on a shared journey to Chicago. Justin Timberlake plays Jim, a folk singer and the partner of June, although Llewyn is involved in an awkward love triangle with pair, they are his only “real” friends. However there is no surprise in saying Oscar Isaac is the star performer, although maybe limited due to the Coen brother’s style; he captures a great display that really connects with the audience nevertheless.

The films biggest achievement however is how it’s been beautifully crafted; both the Coen brothers and cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel deserve huge plaudits. Every scene is flawless, from the very opening to the very end, each shot with talent and it looks like they spent time on every frame attempting to reach perfection. Inside Llewyn Davis has got the nomination for Best Cinematography and that is not at all surprising, however what was is the snub for The Best Picture.  The opening scene really sets the mark throughout, Llewyn is on stage singing and playing, being highlighted by an overhanging spotlight it only focuses on him and the music, perfectly executed it leaves you speechless. Many scenes are also remarkable with small elements standing out; the “car journey scene” as well as the “train journey scene” to pick my favourites, but the film in a whole is just inspiring in a number of ways.

The sound-track deserves the final mention, which plays an important role within this film. Without the score that is lyrically and acoustically remarkable, we wouldn’t have such a connection to Llweyn, it is due to the score that we encourage him and sympathise for him. Although heart-less and cold his music is the opposite, that alongside his relationship with a reoccurring cat, shows that Llewyn is “human” and can feel.

The Coen brother’s newest creation is one that I shall be re-watching time and time again due to its powerful, impacting and inspiring nature. Inside Llewyn Davis is in some ways a story about not giving up and holding onto your dreams and passions, that story has been executed to perfection and topped by amazing performances making it a master-piece that can’t be missed.



Film Review: Drive (2011)


Genre: Crime, Drama

Director: Nicholas Winding Refn

Writers: Hossein Amini, James Sallis

Staring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks

Rating: ★★★★★

Ryan Gosling stars in this crime drama as a Driver, he has no name, no past, no other life. He drives as a stuntman, a wheelman for getaways and he drives to save his neighbours lives. We first see  Driver in LA being used as a wheelman for a getaway. He’s calm, composed and mysterious and in pursuit from the police he uses not only the sheer power, speed and his driving ability but the environment and intelligence to escape. During the day he works as a mechanic and a stuntman, he asks no questions, he just drives.

He is this traditional “hero” and this film fits the 1960’s trend and style, he is a complete mystery but all we can tell is that he’s damaged and whatever damaged him has had a lasting effect on his mental state. He has no family, no friends, no past not even a name making him defined purely by his behaviour and all he does is drive. He has few if any emotions, he doesn’t talk much but we become to be attached and sympathise for him and this is down to a truly amazing soundtrack and score editing.

The Driver befriends his neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan), and her son Benecio (Kaden Leos) and within a week becomes very affectionate and close. He takes them home from the supermarket after their car breaks down, he then goes on to drive them around and take them places. This sets up a rather heart warming relationship between the three of them however Irene’s husband and Benecio’s dad called Standard (Oscar Isaac) is due out from prison in a week destroying the relationship. Standard at first is hostile with his new neighbour but then realises that he can use him to pay off his debt in a $1million heist on a local pawn brokers. However when things go wrong it puts his family in danger and being attached Driver decides to take it into his own hands to protect their lives. This fuels the rest of the film as Driver gets involved with ruthless big time mobsters Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks as he takes risks to show unbelievable loyalty and feelings for Irene.

As the plot progresses and the danger and conflict increases we see the damaged Driver show as he displays extreme violence. This however creates us to sympathise for him more rather than making him a villain, it also brings some great entertainment and some thrilling action.

The film is action packed but leaves room for a light hearted romance and a good storyline, for once I think a film has managed to balance this out correctly and effectively. Unlike most other crime-action dramas, Drive is a very realistic film, chases seem realistic and so do stunts. CGI is used as little as possible, Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn respecting the genre and craft of film making. The key element in this film is sound, Cliff Martinez should be very proud of what he’s achieved. Due to the lack of dialogue from the driver the soundtrack speaks for him, telling us everything about him including his feelings. Drive has been credited with many awards for it’s sound editing and well deserved too. This is definitely a film you don’t want to miss and you won’t be disappointed after watching.