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Exclusive: First Listen To Alexandre Desplat's Score For 'Zero Dark Thirty'

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist December 10, 2012 at 12:03PM

If there's one movie that seemingly everyone is talking about, it's "Zero Dark Thirty." "Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow's harrowing account of the ten-year chase for Osama Bin Laden. The film is quickly accumulating a number of significant critics' prizes, topping many year-end lists and generating a deafening amount of Oscar buzz. One of the unsung heroes of "Zero Dark Thirty," though, is composer Alexandre Desplat, who creates the richly moody score for the film, which really comes into play during the movie's last act, swirling during the raid on Bin Laden's compound like some low-lying fog. And today, we are thrilled to give the first listen to this unique and atmospheric score.
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Zero Dark Thirty Alexandre Desplat

If there's one movie that seemingly everyone is talking about, it's "Zero Dark Thirty," "Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow's harrowing account of the ten-year chase for Osama Bin Laden. The film is quickly accumulating a number of significant critics' prizes, topping many year-end lists and generating a deafening amount of Oscar buzz. One of the unsung heroes of "Zero Dark Thirty," though, is composer Alexandre Desplat, who creates the rich, moody score for the film, which really comes into play during the last act, swirling around during the raid on Bin Laden's compound like some low-lying fog. And today, we are thrilled to give the first listen to this unique and atmospheric score.

When we asked Desplat what it was like creating such a minimal, stripped-down score (there are moments when, with its rhythmic backbone and pronounced bass, it recalls compositions by John Carpenter), he was quick to point out that it was put together on a large scale. "It is actually an orchestral score," Desplat clarified. "There are twelve cellos, nine basses… It's a huge orchestra."

The key, Desplat said, is the sublety of how the music is presented. "It doesn't play loud," Desplat said. "It creates a very deep and dark type of sound without being in your face. Of course, if we played it very loud it would have been showing off. But that's not the point of that film." It was this approach that allowed Desplat to channel the cunning CIA operative named Maya (played with fierce intensity and grace by Jessica Chastain).

"In the film you have to be inside the battle and inside the warriors' heads and the head of the warrior played by Jessica Chastain," he explained. "She is very restrained and doesn't talk much and the one who is in charge. She really conveys through her eyes and body language this war." Desplat then summed up the score thusly: "That is what my score is following – her character, her chase, her personality."

Now you can hear all of it, by clicking below. "Zero Dark Thirty" opens on December 19th in New York and Los Angeles and the soundtrack will be available on the same day via Madison Gate Records. The picture goes wide on January 11th

Zero Dark Thirty Soundtrack Cover skip
"Zero Dark Thirty" Soundtrack Tracklisting

1. Flight To Compound
2. Drive To Embassy
3. Bombings
4. Ammar
5. Monkeys
6. Northern Territories
7. Seals Take Off
8. 21 Days
9. Prepartion For Attack
10. Balawi
11. Dead End
12. Maya On Plane
13. Area 51
14. Tracking Calls
15. Picket Lines
16. Towers
17. Chopper
18. Back To Base

This article is related to: Alexandre Desplat, Zero Dark Thirty, Soundtrack


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