Movie Review: Sound of Noise (2010)

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Seen: On our projector set-up, streamed from Miles’ harddrive.

On New Year’s Eve, my boyfriend and I had the best idea: Let’s stay in and watch movies! It was really nice and relaxing and also I cooked a tasty dinner. For the next few weeks I’ll be playing catch up with all the 2012 movies I missed, so that was the theme for the evening, starting with Sound of Noise (a 2010 release in its native Sweden, but didn’t make it to the US until last March). After a group of drummers starts staging wacky musical acts of terrorism around a Swedish city, Amadeus Warnebring (Bengt Nilsson), a tone-deaf cop who hates music, is on their trail. Their high-concept performance art infuriates the classical-music-loving public, but something about their drumming causes anything they use as an instrument to become silent to Warenebring’s ears, even people. This fascinates Warnebring, who becomes obsessed with the musicians, especially their lead organizer Sanna (Sanna Persson).

Within the first ten minutes of this movie, a large van speeds down a highway with a man drumming in back and a woman shifting gears to match the beat. They crash into a quiet suburban neighborhood, leaving only a ticking metronome that the unsuspecting public assumes is a bomb. This is a fucking killer way to start a movie. The premise of guerrilla acts of musical terrorism played out upon an unenlightened urban public is fantastic, and Sound of Noise runs with it in a fun and engaging way. The musical performances are excellent- strange and exciting and at times emotionally uplifting. It’s the kind of movie that energizes you, and makes you want to make music out of everything in your house. The story isn’t especially complex, though I did like how the quiet, stern central character of Warnebring grounded the whole plot. He looks like a sadder Clark Gregg and his presumably tortured upbringing as a tone-deaf child in a famous musical family just tugs at your heartstrings. As a person who is sensitive to certain sounds I also really felt for his own extreme reaction to music. He is a perfect foil for the rowdy, wild drummers who compose his targets, and you just know he wouldn’t actually arrest them, he just wants to know more about them.

I can’t quite explain it, this movie just gives me really good feelings. I love a world where everything can be music and music spills over into public performance art. I loved the self-assured weirdness and touch of surrealism, as well as the kooky characters. One of the drummers even looks like Brian, my favorite character on Spaced, so that was an added bonus! The little romantic angle is unnecessary and poorly developed, but I can’t say it bothered me much, since I enjoyed everything else a whole lot.

4.5/5

Pair This Movie With: I saw Subway suggested on the imdb page, and I think that would be a really good double feature. Fun, foreign-language musical times!

 

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