The power of a great film score can’t be overstated. Sometimes it’s right up at the forefront, impossible to miss. Other times it’s more a piece of a whole, maybe tough to pinpoint in the moment but surely vital to the overall effect of the film. And while movie scores have changed significantly throughout the history of cinema, the rise of the digital age in the 21st century has resulted in massive evolution and, as a result, a more diverse sonic range than ever before. There’s still a place for the classicism of John Williams, but there’s also room for something more experimental from Mica Levi, something more technical from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, or something somewhere in between the two from someone like Daniel Pemberton.
Film scores have arguably never been more exciting, and while no doubt more great stuff is on the way, it felt prudent to take a beat and look back on what we’ve been given over the past two decades. So below I’ve culled together a list of the best of the best. Behold, the best movie scores of the 21st century so far.