Hans Zimmer: The Dark Knight Rises
Hans Zimmer: The Dark Knight Rises– There is a moment near the end of 2008′s The Dark Knight where a cornered and disfigured Harvey Dent muddles through his final attempt at revenge on Commissioner Gordon and Batman. Dent, questioning Gordon’s logic as to why he had called cops to the scene, responds: “You think I want to escape from this; there is no escape from this!” It’s a statement that aptly summarizes the second film in the trilogy. There is no escape for anybody in this circle. Not for Bruce Wayne, who has chosen Batman over his billionaire alter ego. Not for Gordon, who chose to be a willing party against the mob. Not for Dent, who in a few short minutes after this scene will be nothing more than a failed tragic villain. Compromises have been made between these three men, blood on all of them. The events of the second film leave them annihilated. What is left when the world around you has been crippled by deeds wrought by your own hand? Fear. Fear of everything, everyone and of yourself. It is here that Hans Zimmer‘s score for The Dark Knight Rises focuses its lens.
The crumbling remorse of Batman Begins was central to Zimmer and James Newton Howard’s 2005 soundtrack for the film. Their next musical adaptation was followed by deftly playing to the complacency and unexpected consequences of The Dark Knight in 2008. Dark Knight Rises brands the film’s orchestral backdrop with a darkness so potent that its narrow, burning walls will leave you fumbling for balance and confronting a myriad of nauseating demons. In this world you will be broken, in a state of perpetual consternation. Zimmer will suffocate you with his bare hands, if given the chance. It is a fear where you will audibly gasp as you feel the air around you turn. The track ‘On Thin Ice‘ demonstrates this with perfect pitch. The murky hold of the Frankenstein’s heavy fingers, his resilient squeeze tightening in ‘The Fire Rises’. If ‘The Fire Rises‘ is the Frankenstein, then ‘Gotham’s Reckoning‘ is the devil himself. Sitting atop his throne cackling as you fall to the glimmer of his horns and the clamoring chant of his legions, he will mercilessly drag you across that divide and make you his willing bond servant. All goodness is wrestled to the ground and pinned by claws in ‘Fear Will Find You‘. The score itself feels so vehement and frightening, it borders on sadism. It makes no mistakes in doing so; it captures the swirling misery of the film and makes permanent the echoes of these musical cues inside your brain.
It does offer funereal moments of pause as Zimmer is intent on reminding us that at the center of this gruesome story is a lonely, heartbroken child picking through salvage yards desperately trying to complete a monument to his murdered parents. ‘Nothing Out There‘ blankets the coals momentarily to revisit the grieving side of Bruce Wayne, as does ‘Why Do We Fall?‘. Zimmer also gives vibrant, peerless attention to the final theme that runs through The Dark Knight Rises, that being of course, rising itself. ‘Imagine The Fire‘, ‘Rise‘ and ‘Necessary Evil‘ bid farewell to everything by taking final stock and moving forward with the burden of victory the only acceptable outcome. ‘Imagine The Fire‘ smites the lingering pestilence so expertly that by its conclusion, you wonder what all this talk of Necronomicon, end of days was all about.
The Dark Knight Rises as a whole musical composition is a gut wrenching, fiendish march. It takes every advantage it has and maximizes its output through assault. At the same time, it remains a fragile human. It can plummet into doubt and caress its familiar stuffed animals when faced with uncertainty. When it overcomes the odds, it blinds and staggers the enemy to limping defeat. It is everything that Zimmer has been building up to, and what Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale first envisioned. This is a Dark Knight who bleeds, but will not go down until every last reserve of strength is gone.
Worth every bit of praise, and my pick for album of the year thus far. 10/10