Originally written and published for the Hindu Metroplus in January 2012.


Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – 2011 – Null Corporation/Mute Records

Director David Fincher called upon his last project’s collaborators Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and producer Atticus Ross for scoring his latest film with their signature industrial, dark ambient and drone sounds. The result – there’s nerve-jangling music that fit perfectly with themes explored in the film.

On the soundtrack to ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, Reznor and Ross let themselves wander off into waves of sounds. The original score packs nearly three hours of music in three discs, not all of which was included as an aural backdrop in the film.

There are only two ‘songs’ on the album in the form of collaborations. The album opens with A heavy cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’ with Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs (which is part of the opening sequence in the film) and ends with ‘Is Your Love Strong Enough?’ by How to Destroy Angels, Reznor’s experimental side-project.

Fans of Reznor’s instrumental ambient album Ghosts I-IV would really enjoy this effort. ‘A Viable Construct’ is one of those rare combinations with a catchy beat set to some jumpy digital effects, with bits of distortion. ‘Oraculum’ starts out with a similar style, but given its eight-minute duration, there’s much more repetition in a seemingly off-beat time signature that haunts as it wisps away. This strange glued product stands out as a memorable track.

The setting of action is handled by quick, gripping pieces such as ‘A Thousand Details’, leading with the electro synth that is typically reminiscent of NIN while ‘Great Bird of Prey’ conjures up suspense at its noisiest level.

But to those who heard ‘The Social Network’ in good rotation, this might seem to be the same blueprint. ‘She Reminds Me of You’ seems to exemplify the duo’s success with this film score; it’s a track that does well to possibly serve as the main theme. ‘One Particular Moment’ sees them take a simple piano tune and make it sinister with an evocative crescendo.

While the duo excel greatly with the industrial drones they produce. From pianos and delay-laden notes ringing on endlessly, the soundtrack could do with more progressive movements, especially if some of them were certain to have been omitted from being fitted to a frame in the film.

‘The Social Network’ did not narrate matters as dark as murder, mental anguish and suspense as David Fincher’s next film ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’. This film’s story certainly seems to have given Reznor and Ross the liberty to delve into even darker soundscapes than their Oscar-winning score in 2010.