Hans Zimmer has been at the forefront of modern film composition for over 10 years now especially in his collaborations with director Christoper Nolan. He has managed to set many trends that have permeated through all of western cinema which has made him somewhat a divisive figure in circles of film composition. Personally I feel that his work does what great film scores should do and that’s to enhance the cinema experience, beefing up the emotions shown on screen subliminally. what he can lack in melody he more than makes up for in sound design and composition.
On Nolans newest film Dunkirk we’re treated to a relentless barrage of stress and tension as the fear of death lies heavily on the entirety of the film and the score does a fantastic job of complimenting these emotions. Although the whole score is worth a listen, Submarine manages to exemplify the ideas for the whole score succinctly.
A recording of a ticking clock provides the backbone of the tracks which is enhanced by the orchestra and synthesizers to create a feeling of dread. Add to that the compositional technique called the Sheppard tone which gives the impression of a continuous escalating pitch your left with a discomfort that perfectly suits the film: