Gone Girl (soundtrack)

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Gone Girl
Gone Girl album art.jpeg
Film score by
ReleasedSeptember 30, 2014 (2014-09-30)[1]
GenreDark ambient[2]
  • Trent Reznor
  • Atticus Ross
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross chronology
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Gone Girl
Before the Flood

Gone Girl is the score album for David Fincher's 2014 film of the same name, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The album was released on September 30, 2014, through Columbia Records.[3] It marks as third time that Reznor and Ross have collaborated with Fincher, following 2010's Oscar-winning The Social Network and 2011's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.[4] The soundtrack was nominated for the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media,[5] and also for the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.[6]

Background and development[edit]

On January 21, 2014, Trent Reznor announced that he and Atticus Ross would provide the score,[7] marking their third collaboration with David Fincher, following The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Reznor revealed that the tonal inspiration for Gone Girl came from an unsettling experience of Fincher at the chiropractor's place and the music heard was "inauthentically trying to make him feel alright", and thus, had become a metaphor for the film score. The soundtrack's music mixes soothing sounds with staccato electronic noises.[8] Reznor had anticipated being able to focus intently on the Gone Girl soundtrack, but it turned out to overlap with a year-long tour with Nine Inch Nails.[8] During multiple two-week breaks in his tour, Reznor and Ross would create musical soundscapes that both matched the scenes in the script as well as what Fincher exactly wanted. According to them, the track "Sugar Storm" from the soundtrack exemplifies a sound that begins with soothing, New-age music massage therapy music, the composers gradually introduce strange staccato noises that recall an old dial-up modem. In the same interview to USA Today Reznor stated, "I love the sounds in David Lynch movies, the kind that make you lean forward in your seat and tense up,". The staccato noise introduction was justified by him stating that if placing background of a song a choir of screams that creep slowly into one's head, he could create a feeling. Further, Reznor and Ross used traditional instruments like guitars and keyboard as well as handmade gear. They created a device that when tapped made a stuttering beat sounds.[8] Reznor was quoted saying, "So when you use that as a foundation for a track that has a sexy background, the core is inherently broken and you sense that."[8] In an interview with The Rolling Stone Reznor called "The Way He Looks at Me" as one of his favorite tracks on the album. He added that when he and Ross were thinking about usages in compositions, it all began from hints given by the director Fincher. They used customized instruments like "homemade boxes that had small mics fit in it".[9] He said that they captured guitar strings loops by hitting it and developing a repeating pattern deliberately making it uneven. Thus, the foreground created was a kind of unease justified when there were moments of tension in the film. So instead of it naturally building, they compared the loop sounds to foot's dragging or something being stuck.[9]

In the case of Gone Girl, it felt organic-y to start. As we started working on it, it felt like it could use the idea of orchestra, so we ended up using an orchestra for bits of it to layer in with what we've done, which was an interesting process.[10]

Trent Reznor on working with the live orchestras for first time for the score


In April 2014, a website titled "amazingamy.com" was set up to promote the film.[11] The website featured score but was touted to be composed by Reznor and Ross. In July 2014, the website "gonegirlmovie.com" was updated to also have background music similar to the first audio but was titled "Echoes". A trailer was released on July 7, 2014 which featured both the website based music and new music. On 20 September 2014, "gonegirl.com" was updated with new music titled "Mixdown", a megamix of songs from the soundtrack album. Later, NIN[10] updating a splash screen introducing the score, the album artwork and the track "The Way He Looks At Me" running behind the frame.[12]

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[14]
Consequence of SoundB+[2]
Drowned In Sound8/10[15]

The soundtrack has been met with critical acclaim by critics, with an average rating of 84 out of 100 based on five reviews on Metacritic.[13]

Consequence of Sound critic Leah Pickett stated: "The cinesonic union of Fincher, Reznor, and Ross is stronger than ever."[2] Justin Chang of Variety felt, "Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, whose moody electronic compositions have become synonymous with the director’s work, once again devise a soundscape that all but pulses with dread, this time by lacing more traditional orchestral fare with their trademark synths.[17]

Writing for The New Yorker, Anthony Lane felt, "Nothing could equip Fincher better for the coiled and clustered goings on in the new film, and, for good measure, he has hired Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to compose the score and they don’t let Fincher down."[18] Genevieve Koski of The Dissolve compared the composer's previous scores, stating, "Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, all of whom have been helping steer the look and sound of Fincher’s films since The Social Network, and all of whom do characteristically effective but unflashy work in Gone Girl."[19] Writing for Slate, Dana Stevens felt, "An eerie (if a little too omnipresent) electronic score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross sounds sensational"[20] At USA Today, Claudia Puig praised the score as, "A pervasively menacing atmosphere — intensified by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' eerily evocative score — keeps the audience mesmerized."[21] For Hitfix, Drew McWeeny summarized, "Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross contribute the most difficult score they've composed so far here, giving us nothing resembling a typical emotional cue. It is the polar opposite of the score that Thomas Newman wrote for The Judge, all clingy and needy and cloying and over-emphatic about any possible feeling the audience might be expected to have for themselves. Ross and Reznor had written something that feels designed to make you uncomfortable. It is a hair shirt of a score, itchy and strange and almost offensive on some level, and I love it."[22]

"Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross complement the film’s jagged, uncertain tone with a suitably downbeat electronic score", such was stated by Marc Savlov, writing for The Austin Chronicle newspaper.[23] For The A.V. Club, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky called the score framed on lines Mark Isham-esque. However, he called it 'silky'"[24] Writing for Oregon Live, Jeff Baker felt, "Composers Atticus and Reznor -- for three movies in a row and they've got it down. "Gone Girl" works the way a Swiss watch works, money well spent in every frame."[25] Michael Phillips of Chicago Tribune called the scoring 'remarkable', 'throbbing' underscoring by composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, enough to make one forget the story's phonier constructs and less plausible supporting characters.[26] At Vulture, David Edelstein praised the score stating, "The spooky astral music (by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) is like purgatory in beige"[27] Critic Matt Zoller Seitz wrote, "For long stretches, Fincher's gliding widescreen camerawork, immaculate compositions and sickly, desaturated colors fuse with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's creepy-optimistic synthesized score to create a perverse big-screen version of one of those TV comedies built around a pathetically unobservant lump of a husband and his hypercontrolling, slightly shrewish wife."[28] Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "The score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is nomination-worthy."[29] Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail commented, "Throughout, the electronic score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross grinds, squawks and groans, communicating the rising panic beneath the placid surface."[30] Writing for The Rolling Stone, Peter Travers noted, "Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, artfully escalate the seething tension."[31]

Much less enthusiastic was Jonathan Broxton of Movie Music UK, member of the International Film Music Critics Association, who wrote of the score: "The lack of any emotional development beyond the general mood of uneasiness makes the film a one-note auditory bore. The music stops us from feeling any of the nuance or subtlety the acting or writing may have otherwise provided, because it never alters its disposition. (...) As an artist with Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor was genuinely groundbreaking. However, I just don’t buy into all the hype about his film music career. I read reviews from professional critics in well-respected music magazines, and they all laud him as though he is the individual savior of the art, someone who is finally writing the sort of edgy, avant-garde film music we have all needed all these years, but were too stupid to realize. I just don’t buy it. (...) As an album of ambient electronica [Gone Girl] may be appealing to those who have an affinity for that sort of music. However, as actual film music, it’s as much as a failure as its two predecessors."[32]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Gone Girl (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)
1."What Have We Done to Each Other?"2:30
2."Sugar Storm"2:53
3."Empty Places"2:46
4."With Suspicion"3:16
5."Just Like You"4:11
7."Clue One"1:30
8."Clue Two"5:10
9."Background Noise"3:09
11."Something Disposable"4:28
12."Like Home"3:39
13."Empty Places (Reprise)"2:20
14."The Way He Looks at Me"3:27
15."Technically, Missing"6:43
18."Strange Activities"2:37
19."Still Gone"2:47
20."A Reflection"1:46
22."Sugar Storm (Reprise)"0:49
23."What Will We Do?"3:05
24."At Risk"11:05
Total length:86:42


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of Ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards January 15, 2015 Best Score Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Nominated [33]
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards December 19, 2014 Runner-up [34]
Golden Globe Awards January 11, 2015 Nominated [6]
Grammy Awards February 8, 2015 Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media Nominated [5]
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards December 16, 2014 Best Score Nominated [35]
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards December 15, 2014 Nominated [36]
Satellite Awards February 15, 2015 Best Original Score Nominated [37]
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards December 15, 2014 Best Score Nominated [38]
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards December 8, 2014 Original Score Nominated [39]


  1. ^ "Gone Girl (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture):Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross : Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Pickett, Leah (October 2, 2014). "Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Gone Girl OST". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  3. ^ "Trent Reznor Previews Ominous 'Gone Girl' Soundtrack". The Rolling Stone. September 20, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  4. ^ Ramisetti, Kirthana (September 25, 2014). "'Gone Girl' soundtrack available to stream online". Daily News. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
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  8. ^ a b c d In 'Gone Girl' music, Reznor aims 'to instill doubt' USA Today. Retrieved. 5 October 2014
  9. ^ a b The Haunting Sound of 'Gone Girl': Trent Reznor on Latest Fincher Score The Rolling Stone. Retrieved. 5 October 2014
  10. ^ a b "Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Preview Gone Girl Soundtrack". Pitchfork. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  11. ^ Everything You Need to Know About Gone Girl to Truly Appreciate the Just Released Trailer EOnline. Retrieved. 5 October 2014
  12. ^ David Fincher talks Gone Girl, film career Screen Daily. Retrieved. 5 October 2014
  13. ^ a b "Reviews for Gone Girl [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] by Trent Reznor". Metacritic. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Phares, Heather. "Trent Reznor / Atticus Ross - Gone Girl [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]". Allmusic. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  15. ^ Fothergill, Lucas (November 26, 2014). "Album Review: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Gone Girl". Drowned In Sound. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  16. ^ Renshaw, David (November 24, 2014). "Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - 'Gone Girl' OST". NME. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
  17. ^ "Film Review: 'Gone Girl'". Variety. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  18. ^ Lane, Anthony. "Theydunnit". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  19. ^ "'Gone Girl'". The Dissolve. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  20. ^ Stevens, Dana. "Gone Girl". Slate. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  21. ^ Puig, Claudia. "'Gone Girl' review". USA Today. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  22. ^ 'Gone Girl' Hiflix. Retrieved. 5 October 2014
  23. ^ 'Gone Girl' Austin Chronicle. Retrieved. 5 October 2014
  24. ^ Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy. "'Gone Girl' review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  25. ^ Baker, Jeff. "'Gone Girl' review". Oregon Live. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  26. ^ Gone Girl 3.5
  27. ^ Puig, Claudia. "'Gone Girl' movie review". Vulture. Retrieved 2014-10-06.
  28. ^ Gone Girl review
  29. ^ "'GONE GIRL': A NICELY TWISTED MYSTERY". Archived from the original on 2014-10-05. Retrieved 2014-10-05.
  30. ^ ‘Gone Girl: Fincher builds an ingenious contraption
  31. ^ David Fincher tackles a marriage made in hell in this hot-button take on Gillian Flynn's bestselling thriller
  32. ^ "GONE GIRL – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Original Review by Jonathan Broxton". Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  33. ^ "The Critics' Choice Movie Awards are bestowed annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association to honor the finest in cinematic achievement". PR Critics' Choice Awards. PR Critics' Choice Awards. 15 December 2014. Archived from the original (Press release) on 12 December 2012. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  34. ^ "2014 FFCC Award Winners" (Press release). PR Florida Film Critics Circle. PR Florida Film Critics Circle. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  35. ^ "Phoenix Film Critics Society 2014 Award Nominations". Phoenix Film Critics Society. Phoenix Film Critics Society. 9 December 2014. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  36. ^ "2014 San Diego Film Critics Award Nominations". PR San Diego Film Critics. PR San Diego Film Critics. 11 December 2014. Archived from the original (Press release) on 18 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  37. ^ "The International Press Academy Announces Nominations For The 19th Annual Satellite™ Awards" (Press release). PR Newswire. PR Newswire Association LLC. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  38. ^ "St Louis Film Critic Nominees" (Press release). PR Awards Daily. Awards Daily. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  39. ^ "The 2014 WAFCA Awards". 6 December 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
  40. ^ "D.C. Wants to Have a Talk About the Birds and the Boys "Boyhood" and "Birdman" Dominate This Year's Awards" (PDF). Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. December 8, 2014.

External links[edit]