Directors making strong characteristic decisions about the music in their films are, aside from being few in number, generally people who depend on a particular composer--directors like Steven Spielberg (John Williams), Steven Soderbergh (Cliff Martinez), and John Carpenter (himself). Michael Mann is that rare director for whom musical literacy has less to do with professional partnership than with a hunger for aesthetic exploration. From his days with Miami Vice
, in which he spearheaded the integration of pop songs with a scene's motion, Mann has been relentlessly creative in the scoring of his work--setting producer Trevor Jones (a knowledgeable technophile) loose in The Last of the Mohicans
wilderness and getting Elliot Goldenthal to blend electronic, hard-rock, and orchestral effects for a haunting score to Heat
. The common theme is mood, at times profoundly spiritual, fashionably effete, or resolutely cold. These are the temperaments of Lisa Gerrard, best known for her work with the prototrance act Dead Can Dance, and her sometime partner Pieter Bourke. Their score for The Insider
is a rich montage of paranoia and momentum, perfectly suited to Mann's moralistic corporate thriller. Mechanized drums flirt with ambient music while, soaring above, thick clouds of synthesized drones recall Peter Gabriel's fortunate work on the big screen. --Marc Weidenbaum
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