The Music Of 'Inception' Exposed

Screenshot from Inception
Courtesy Legendary Pictures

Bob and I have an ongoing disagreement over film scores.  Basically it's that he hates pretty much all music written for popular films in the past 30 or 40 years, while I really love quite a lot of it.  (John Williams scored my childhood).

My current favorite score is the music Has Zimmer wrote for Inception.  It's powerful, immediately recognizable, and conjures thrilling imagery.  It's so cool!  I played a snippet of it for Bob, and he immediately hated it.  I'll leave it to him to explain why some day.

Now a viral video is making its way around the web that reveals how Zimmer got the idea for the score.  It turns out he intentionally cribbed the two defining "da-da" notes from a slowed-down version of the Edith Piaf song "Non, je ne Regrette Rien." This is the song that the characters in Inception play to warn each other it's time to wake up.  Check out the video:

YouTube

If you haven't seen Inception, one of its many ideas is that time slows dramatically when we sleep.  Five minutes in the "real" world can feel more like an hour with our eyes shut.  Zimmer and director Christopher Nolan get bonus points for playing off the idea by simply slowing down the film's most important musical cue.  (Bob would likely say that listening to five minutes of this score is like hearing an hour of it).

"I was surprised how long it took (someone) to figure it out," Zimmer says in an interview with The New York Times.   "Just for the game of it, all the music in the score is subdivisions and multiplications of the tempo of the Edith Piaf track. So I could slip into half-time; I could slip into a third of a time. Anything could go anywhere. At any moment I could drop into a different level of time."

What do you think?  Do you like the score?  Is this a brilliant musical interpretation of one of the film's many ideas, or just a shameless gimmick?

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