HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Takashi Seida
Lisa Schwarzbaum
January 13, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

What influenced an EW critic’s ”sound” judgment?

I notice that your reviews make a point of mentioning the musical score. What has given you such an appreciation of this much-overlooked area of filmmaking? — Cambria Wong
Years of piano and viola study, classes in conducting and theory, whole college semesters devoted to Mozart…in short, a past academic life as a music major who began her journalism career writing about classical music and who still owns a collection of movie soundtracks on scratched vinyl.

As you rightly point out, the presence (or absence) of music is an essential part of the cinematic experience for me. The way I hear it, music can be a crucial element in the artistic success of a movie like A History of Violence. Or it can be aural wallpaper, a way to mask storytelling weakness by diverting and influencing the audience with sound, as in Garden State, Four Brothers, and Elizabethtown. Close listening reveals which is which.

(Got a movie-related question for Lisa or Owen? Post it here.)

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