I'm watching Inception for the 2nd time and I had to write about it:
In a particular scene something happens during an action scene (don't worry, no spoilers in this post), and the audience is lulled to silence for a split second and then is hit with an extremely loud impact.
I think the silence just before the impact made the impact seem far greater in volume because of the contrast. Even the music faded out and some very low-level sounds like breathing and ambience and cloth movement foley were brought up.
This was highly effective and I've got to practice and use this technique!
Does anyone else use this to add more impact? It probably depends heavily on the picture editor to create a pause to slow down and fade out your soundtrack before a large impact...