"This image of 'the unforgettable fire' applied not only to the nuclear winterscape of 'A Sort of Homecoming,' but also the unforgettable fire of a man like Martin Luther King, or the consuming fire which is heroin."
U2 Lists: Top 5 Uses of U2 in Film
June 23, 2010
[Ed. note: This is the 19th in a "U2 Lists" series, where @U2 staffers pick a topic and share their personal rankings on something U2-related.]
Soundtracks can sometimes make or break a movie, and oftentimes tunes that are far beyond the quality of the film are used in hopes of getting folks to the multiplex. In this context, U2 are as guilty as any other band for lending their voice to projects that are clearly lower caliber than their songs.
That's why it's especially refreshing when the partnership is worthy of praise. Getting the right music for a film means marrying the song’s distinctiveness with its compatibility for the plot. The following list is made up of U2 songs that achieve this feat, and enhance the viewer’s overall experience.
5. "Everlasting Love" from Veronica Guerin (2003)
Robert Knight originally recorded this hit in 1967, and two other artists covered it before it appeared as a B-side to U2’s "All I Want Is You" in 1989. This rendition is full of guitars and spirit, making it a perfect complement to the scene in which it appears in the film. The story chronicles the life of Irish journalist Veronica Guerin, who was murdered in 1996 by drug dealers she had investigated. The music is used to show how full of life she was, and how dearly her family adored her.
4. "Out of Control" from Intermission (2003)
Like an Irish Pulp Fiction, the Colin Farrell romp Intermission focuses on quick shots, fast crimes and clever lines. In the opening scene, a surprisingly violent act is punctuated by the beginning lines of U2's early hit, giving a whole new dimension to both the song and the film. The anger-by-way-of-angst anthem acts as an unlikely enjoyable fuel for the remainder of the fast-paced flick.
3. "Zoo Station" from About a Boy (2002)
Most U2 fans immediately think of Bono's "Fly" in the silhouette of the massive Zoo TV screen when the first notes of this song begin. I certainly do, but ever since I saw the Hugh Grant comedy About a Boy, I'm also reminded of the endearing character of schoolboy Marcus appearing on the doorstep of playboy Will, desperately needing attention. The child is a bit of a nuisance to the cold bachelor, so he does his best to hide from him by cranking up his stereo, which is playing "Zoo Station" to force him away. Instead, Marcus persistently pushes the door buzzer in perfect time with the song, making it not only hilarious, but effective.
2. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" from Bloody Sunday (2002)
There's been "a lot of talk about this song, maybe too much talk," I know. But it's well deserved -- especially in the context of this powerful film, which re-creates the events of January 30, 1972, with a documentary-like essence. Director Paul Greengrass took the ultimate high road by not using the studio version of the song to predictably pound over the climactic results of the day, but instead utilizes a slower incarnation, which arrives quietly over the closing credits, much like a respectful wake.
1. "With or Without You" from Tell No One (2006)
This classic U2 love song has been featured in two of America's most popular sitcoms (Friends and The Office, respectively), but the most intricate use of it arrived in the acclaimed French thriller Tell No One, which follows the story of a man who starts getting e-mails from his wife eight years after her death. To give away the context would be to spoil the plot, but what I can say is that "With or Without You" plays an integral part in solving the mystery.
© @U2/Kokkoris, 2010.