Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Gone Girl (2014, dir. David Fincher)
Winner at the 2015 Academy Awards: Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, dir. Wes Anderson)
A descendant of the evocative electronic tones heard a quarter-century earlier in Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s music for Gone Girl (2014) marks the duo’s third collaboration with director David Fincher, the first two being The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011). The Social Network’s score won the Oscar in its year, which annoyed me since the best part of the film’s music wasn’t original but rather an arrangement of Edvard Greig’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” but Reznor and Ross regained my respect and admiration with their compositions for Gone Girl. The music helps Fincher tell the story of the nationwide search for missing person Amy Elliott Dunne (played by Rosamund Pike), a tale complicated by twists, unreliable narrators and shocking revelations. The score’s “Sugar Storm” (1) captures a near-magic moment in the lives of the main characters, Amy and Nick (Ben Affleck), during a sweet kiss in a New York snowfall at the beginning of the couple’s romance; “Like Home” (2) illustrates the darkness lurking beneath the idyllic façade of the Dunne marriage; “Consummation” (3) is one of the more grim tracks from the tail end of the film, emphasizing one character’s villainous plan for another’s destruction. This is suitably creepy music for such a creepy narrative.