Flickering Myth’s writing team discuss their favourite movie soundtracks; next up is Kirsty Capes with Moon…
I think that it is safe to say, with little apprehension, that Clint Mansell is one of the great BAMFs of modern cinematic scores. Although he is humble about his unwavering musical talent, time and time again Clint Mansell creates beautiful, breathtaking and haunting scores to accompany the visuals of some of the world’s greatest modern English-speaking cinema.
Despite his extensive work with visionary director Darren Aronofsky (he wrote the now world famous Requiem for a Dream theme) we are actually here today to talk about Mansell’s work on Moon, one of my all-time favourite underrated films. Written and directed by British Duncan Jones, Moon stars Sam Rockwell as an astronaut living on the moon for three years as he supervises a mineral extraction programme. The film shows how Rockwell’s character (also named Sam), becomes so isolated and alienated that he descends into a kind of pseudo-madness, hallucinating and physically deteriorating until he is barely able to walk. The immense and crippling pressure of aloneness is portrayed as Sam’s own physical and mental decay, making for a sinister and disturbing climax to the film. Moon is easily a masterpiece in its own right, but Mansell’s accompanying score serves only to enhance the most quietly terrifying moments of the story.
On writing the score for Moon, Mansell told Clash Music, “I live alone… so getting an idea of the characters isolation in the film and the theme of feeling alone was pretty easy. I just thought if I wasn’t working on this film what would I want to hear with those images.” Mansell’s interpretation of these themes manifest as slow, often rhythmic, melancholy and fearful strings, with repetitive hooks that are recurrent throughout the film and serve as that cohesion of a repetitive and monotonous existence, living alone on the moon. Moments of tension allow the score to slowly build tension before abruptly cutting out, wholly contributing to the visual constructions of Duncan Jones.
The beauty and corruption this score portrays, especially in conjunction with the film, is enough to brings tears to your eyes. As more and more time is spent in Sam’s world, and as the audience watches reality slowly crumble around him, the score offers an insight into Sam’s psyche and the devastating loneliness that comes with being stuck on the moon for three years.