20. The Fountain
score by Clint Mansell
2006’s The Fountain is Darren Aronofsky’s most ambitious, beautiful (cinematographer Mathew Libatique is doing some of his best work) and flawed film (aside from his bizarre biblical-fantasy-epic Noah). But there’s a definitive charm to the film that elevates it past some of his more technical achievements. Telling three disjointed yet connected stories across space and time, Clint Mansell’s score (with the assistance of the Kronos Quartet and venerable rock band Mogwai) is the constant that bridges the gap between The Fountain’s past, present and otherworldly. Heavy in strings and piano, the score is determined and rhythmic, ever-present as it threads itself through each of the film’s arcs. But it’s with pieces like “Tree of Life” and “Death is the Road to Awe” that Mansell’s score distinguishes itself. With these tracks, Mansell evolves the steady strings and piano that lay the score’s foundation into percussion-heavy, symphonic crescendos that not only compliment but expound on the film’s themes of intangible hope, grief and determination.