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Sound of Noise
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by Jay Seaver

"It's got rhythm, and a bit more besides."
4 stars

A little bit of IMDB link-following as I prepared to write up "The Sound of Noise" has me somewhat more curious than usual about how it played and was perceived in its native Sweden. Was it a Six Drummers feature with a lot more plot than their usual shorts, or was it considered a funny detective movie with antagonists that fans of goofy percussion might recognize? It doesn't really matter, as the end result is great fun, but I'm curious nonetheless.

It's not the drummers that get the movie started, though, but Amadeus Warnebring (Bengt Nilsson), the head of Malmo's anti-terrorism squad, which would be impressive to most families, but he comes from a family of musicians, with his brother Oscar (Sven Ahlstrom), a conductor and one-time child prodigy, much favored over tone-deaf Amadeus. When he recognizes the ticking outside an embassy as not a bomb but a metronome, he doesn't realize that perpetrators Sanna (Sanna Persson) and Magnus (Magnus Borjeson) are planning a four-act opus of musical anarchy, "Music for a City and Six Drummers", with four other comrades (Marcus Haraldson Boij, Johannes Bjork, Fredrik Myhr, and Anders Vestergard) joining in.

Amadeus Warnebring is an interesting creation; a lot of movies would make the cop who hates music because of something in his past a cartoonish monster, receiving either his comeuppance or an unlikely conversion at the end. Amadeus is sympathetic, though; the scenes where he is unable to connect with his family will likely strike some as familiar, as will the idea of not loving something everyone assumes you should even though, yes, you "get it". Nilsson plays his part straight, but doesn't make him so uptight that audiences can't like the guy, and is pretty funny when the action starts to drive him around the bend.

The other stars of the movie are the Six Drummers, and they're a fun crew. Sanna Persson is the one who has the most experience as an actor as opposed to just being a musician, so it's not surprising that she is given the most opportunity to portray a fully-realized person of the group playing fictionalized versions of themselves; she's got a story that includes a connection with Amadeus. The rest all have their moments, too - they may not be actors but they're funny, and can certainly get a personality across through how they play.

And it's the scenes in which they do play that the movie will be remembered for - four escalating set-pieces that find music being made from unlikely "instruments", where the catchy rhythms built out of unusual sounds get the audience bopping along a bit even as it's laughing at the incongruity of the thing. The only real issue with them is that they occasionally get interrupted by the story (unlike the original "Music for an Apartment and Six Drummers", where the characters don't talk and any plot must be inferred); you'll have this big thing where the characters are driving construction equipment to play a song and then the movie will cut to Amadeus, dropping the cool performance from the mix as he realizes that the drummers are nearby.

It doesn't actually hurt the movie all that much, but writer-directors Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson do occasionally have some problems with balancing the story they're trying to tell with the pure eccentricity that surrounds it. The bits where Amadeus can't hear something after the Drummers have used it as an instrument seem to be reaching for an idea that never quite comes together, for instance. And there's something a bit off about the ending, like they know how to bring the story to a conclusion, but they're not quite able to articulate the point they want to make in doing so.

Still, that's a lot better than many people trying to build a story around a bit of music do. It may not quite come together as a whole, but the individual pieces of "Sound of Noise" - the detective, the "songs", the deadpan bits of comedy - are certainly good enough to make it an entertaining evening.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=21275&reviewer=371
originally posted: 03/17/13 08:52:10
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  DVD: 26-Jun-2012


  DVD: 26-Jun-2012

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