To say the score to the film Inception isn't intense would be like saying water isn't wet. It keeps you on your feet from the very beginning and never let's you take a seat. But with a movie like Inception with all it's twists and turns and layers upon layers you need to stay on your feet.
Hans Zimmer truly takes you on an adventure with the rest of the Cobb's crew. You feel every emotion, all the sadness, all the adrenaline, all the freedom. It gets your heart racing on certain songs like "Mombasa" and gives you chills on others like "Old Souls". Even with "Old Souls" it tends to step up the beat. But other songs like "Time" are the best, slow and calming, at the very end the song makes me think of when you've been in a cold and dark room and you come out to have the sun shine upon your face and you can't help but smile.
But I believe all of that is the point. If it wasn't then good job, if it was then good job as well. You as the viewer understand what's at stake if their job fails. That Cobb loses everything, even more than he's already lost. With the passing of his wife and only his children to hold onto, you hope everything goes according to plan even if you don't understand the film.
The score itself has very similar orchestral beats as Zimmer's other films with Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Many of the dark, tense and moody bits from this would slightly creep their way into Zimmer's next score with Nolan The Dark Knight Rises. While much of the slow sad melodic tones reminds me much of Vangelis score from Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic Blade Runner. Another score I would love to just listen to alone. If I can get my hands on it maybe I'll do a piece On it as well.
I can't forget his inclusion of Édith Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette rien", the song's addition of the film not only adds to the scores but plays a vital role in the entire third act of the film. Not only is it slowed down when it seems all the worlds are falling apart but it's also apart of the main theme. The level of detail that Nolan and Zimmer put into this film is incredible and the film deserves multiple viewings while the score should be listened to over and over again.
"Old Souls" - Hans Zimmer
"Opening Theme" - Vangelis (Blade Runner)