Inception is Hans Zimmer’s first solo score for director Christopher Nolan after collaborating with James Newton Howard on Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. He doesn’t disappoint. Far from disappointing, Inception could very well be one of the best scores that the prolific German composer has ever written – which is saying a lot, when you think about it. What makes this even more amazing is the fact that he crafted the entire thing without seeing one single frame of the film. He simply read the script.
The score opens with Half-Remembered Dream, a bombastic number that has a somewhat sinister air to it – as if Zimmer is warning the listener that danger lurks just around the corner. The most memorable cue, Dream Is Collapsing, builds magnificently from a tense, reserved rhythm to an explosive arrangement with chugging strings and bellowing brass. Old Souls and Waiting For A Train both have a particularly ethereal feel, reminiscent of the jazz-kissed work Henry Mancini contributed to Bladerunner; while Mombasa – thanks to a pulsating accompaniment and Johnny Marr’s electric guitar – simmers with the frenetic energy of a chase scene. Time brings the score to a majestic close, soaring in a crescendo of strings, horns, and drums, and then falling suddenly to a quiet, dignified piano theme.