Real cinema happens when a filmmaker uses all of the tools at his or her disposal to provide the viewer with an experience they can’t get in any other medium. Sound, vision, and narrative all collide and the experience can occasionally be so singular and indelible you wonder why you, as a viewer, don’t advocate for yourself and seek the feeling out more often. It’s like a drug.
Often times, these moments are accompanied by a piece of music that buoys them to such a degree that you can’t imagine the scene playing out in any other way. While I didn’t see every movie released this year, it was easy to come up with five moments from the ones I did see that struck me in this manner. Hit the jump for 5 Great Film and Music Moments From 2014.
About halfway through Gone Girl the film, much like its antagonist Amy Elliot Dunne, reveals its true colors. And it’s a spectacular moment when it does so. Director David Fincher and writer Gillian Flynn have been filling our heads with questions for over an hour and – suddenly – we are provided with a bevy of most unexpected answers. It’s a thrillingly cinematic sequence that transports us into Amy’s true self and into an almost different film altogether. Set to the track “Technically, Missing” by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, we feel almost as liberated as Amy does when she finally comes clean in such a brutally frank (and sort of hilarious) manner. A thrilling sequence and one of the year’s most kinetic cinematic moments.
God do I love the Interstellar score from Hans Zimmer. And, while I admit the movie is uneven, there are several moments of the film that are so incredibly bracing I’m itching to see it again. While Nolan’s visuals remain gorgeous to look at, all of the truly special pieces of Interstellar are accompanied by Zimmer’s unexpectedly Goblin-like score. I can’t pick just one and, having seen the movie only once, I can’t quite pinpoint the exact shots these cues land on. But anytime you’re marrying an impending wormhole (or precipitous drop from a frozen cloud) to a track like “Coward,” “S.T.A.Y.” or “No Time For Caution” you’re in good shape.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Co-writer/director James Gunn out so much work into assembling Awesome Mix Tape Volume 1 for Guardians of the Galaxy that it’s also hard to pick one stand-out moment. But I’ll go ahead and commit to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” on this one. After a surprisingly dour opening sequence GOTG announces – right when the title card hits over an image of Chris Pratt dancing to this number – that it’s the feel good movie of the summer. It’s a film that juggles many emotions incredibly well, but none more so than joy itself. And that’s what you’re getting here.
The Guest is another 2014 release peppered with dozens of fantastic marriages between sound and vision. It’s got a great score from composer Steve Moore that’s well worth a listen on its own, but for this particular piece I’m going with needle drop here and choosing “Anthonio (Berlin Breakdown Version)” by Annie. It adds a nice velvety hue to the colorful carnage in the Halloween maze at the end of the movie. The Guest is often compared to Drive because both films are so stylized, but where Drive’s vibe sort of fades away as it goes along, The Guest keeps things popping until the very end.
This body horror fable from directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer makes fantastic use of music from composer Jonathan Snipes to chart the internal and external decay of star Alex Essoe’s deeply ambitious protagonist, Sarah. The film starts out light and orchestral, but shifts towards synth as her transformation into a horrific starlet progresses. The cue “I Did What You Asked” hits about an hour into the film as Sarah staggers, disoriented along Hollywood Boulevard with the malevolent promises of the head of Aestraeus pictures rigning through her head. You’re shown everything you need to know about her trajectory in this striking vignette.