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What films are good examples of Sound Design to study and take note of?
I'm particularly looking for films which sound was used to forward the story with excellent results. Not just using sound for the sake of using sound. Ideally these films would be both of good technical quality as well as artistic in it's sound design. They could be of any genre, and preferably made within the last 3 years, however, I know there are definitely good classic films out there with superb sound design.
Please put at least some information about the film's sound and why you consider the sound well executed.
No one has mentioned it but, Atonement is one of my favourites.
You can see where the sound designers have worked with the composer closely, the massive steadicam shot is exceptional, I'm sure it wasn't easy to record sound on that. effects and music mix and blend together into scenes.
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During the millenium era, I think 2007 was the best film-releasing year so far, while "No Country for Old Men" preserving their marvelous claim upon Oscar's Best Picture, "There Will Be Blood", "Atonement", "I'm Not There", and "Michael Clayton" are absolutely best film-contenders last decade among others...
I've talked it up on here before, but I can't say enough good things about it. It's very hard to describe the approach... I can only say that it's a film that takes a unique approach to sound that shouldn't at all be unique... all films should give this much weight to sound. Very little dialogue... layers of other sounds throughout. Brilliantly mixed, as well. Inspiring.
"Barton Fink" is a better sound-film made by the Coens than "No Country for Old man" if you ask me. The work is much more subtle but has a huge impact on the way we look at the characters' environment. Then there's this small new wave of documentary-makers in the Netherlands who all do some really interesting stuff with sound for example the film: "4 Elements" by Jiska Rickels or "Bloody Mondays and Strawberry pies" by Coco Schreiber. check out the trailers:
I love films of Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan :koza, Iklimler, Uzak, Three monkeys.I also love the way Hou Hsiao Hsien minimally uses sound in his films like : A time to live time to die, Flight of the red balloons, Summer at Grand pa's and films by Terennce malick, The thin red line
I'd have to second the vote on 'Playtime' (Jacques Tati) this is totally awesome use of Foley which brings together the whole absurdity of the film perfectly. The opening airport scene is brilliant!
Without repeating anything suggested by anyone else, 'The Tree of Life' (Terrence Malick) and in particular the 30 minute evolution sequence. Demonstrates how beautiful imagery and sound can be so amazingly powerful.
I think there could be another thread to discuss films where the sound design was somehow "overdone", in ways where it was possibly "too good" (if that makes sense).
'The Tree of Life' was a bit overdone for me (as was the film in general), also something about the sound in 'Where the Wild Things Are' disturbed me. With many stylistic contemporary films I get the feeling I'm watching a sophisticated music video rather than a film.