Incredible Soundtrack #12: The Ghost Writer (Desplat)

The music attached to a film creates the environment, I believe, moreso than the literal environment depicted through the visuals…

One of the most important film composers recently is Alexandre Desplat. Not only has he won multiple awards – including a BAFTA for The King’s Speech, a BMI Film Music Award for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and a Silver Berlin Bear for The Beat That My Heart Skipped but he has also been nominated for many, many more. As you can see, I have chosen an underlooked gem from the last year – indeed his score for The Ghost Writer – or called The Ghost to us folk in the UK.

1. The Ghost Writer – I have never heard such a great sound, and use of, clarinets and oboes (At any rate, surely a wind instrument). The huge, demanding thump of the percussion, forces you to watch and listen…

3. Travel to the Island – Beginning with a strong use of strings (again, I think the spy-like nature of the film, inevitably lends itself well to a Herrman-esque use of strings) it sets up an almost sinister element to the mix before retreating to the well known theme of the film -but this time more expansive and all-encompassing. With small hints of a childish twinkle that, I believe, is for Ewan McGregor’s nameless and naive character.

12. The Predescessor – An almost dreamlike state is created with an under current of horror-like un-even strings. The chords slowly hint at the main theme without becoming too defined.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. As always with any of his soundtracks, Polanski uses them to create this creepy and eerie feeling that always usually works in a very tense way. Good Post!

  2. Great soundtrack – for Polanski the soundtrack to “Chinatown” is unbelievable.

    Very nice podcast by the way – answered the questions 😀

  3. @Dan – Yeah, its great that Polanski doesn't force himself to work with the same composer for all his films – clearly mixing it up where possible.

    @Duke – I have to hunt down the CHINATOWN soundtrack – who is the composer for that film?

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