This week’s entry into our composer series for The Extended Play Movie Podcast is someone that you may not have heard of before. However, you most likely heard his work on some of the big movies of the past couple of years. Alexandre Desplat was someone that Patrick recommended. After listening to his playlist, I realized I’ve seen many of the movies he composed for. His work is as varied as one would expect.
Unlike John Williams, Michael Kamen, or Hans Zimmer, Desplat is a composer unlike any other. While his credits are vast, he does not have that singular style that would make him recognizable. That is, in no way, a bad thing. It implies that he can transform himself, thus his music, into something completely different. Thus, allowing the viewer feel like they are in the film.
Take music from three of his more popular films like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Argo, The Secret Life of Pets.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the final two installments of the franchise and gets dark. Yes, Harry is going into his final battle with Voldermort, but the music has always remained a bit hopeful. Using John Williams’ original music, Desplat takes it to a darker and more emotional level. The film digs deeper into the emotions of the leads and right up to the final battle.
Argo is simply a different beast altogether. Desplat manages to use authentic middle eastern music styles and instruments to convey the immersion of the Iranian culture. In contrast, his lighter and nearly comedic tones accompany the illusion that is going to get Ben Affleck’s character into Iran to retrieve the unknown Americans trapped behind enemy lines. Even though we know the outcome, his rhythmic beats and chilling scoring during the departure sequence allows you to sit at the edge of your seat.
The Secret Life of Pets is an animated movie with heart and passion. The music for many of the different animals allows people to instantly get the tone and demeanor of the pets via the music. His score is traditional in giving you swelling joy, playful fun and conveying tension. While the compositions are only traditional in the sense that it gives what is expected in an animated score, it diverts immensely from the previous scores that you would think someone else composed this film.
Some of his other scores include The Ides of March, Monument Men, Zero Dark Thirty, The Imitation Game and Godzilla to only mention a few. It is important to familiarize yourself with this composer, as he is definitely an up and comer. His gift for music and sound allows him to be who he is, but completely transform himself and the film into something more. Here is the clip of one of his tracks from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.