SOUND OF NOISE (Dirs. Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, 2012)
This film about a group of avant-garde guerilla drummers who take the Swedish city of Malmö by storm with a series of illegal public performances really took me by surprise.
I wasn’t expecting such a funny stylish ride, but SOUND OF NOISE delightfully delivers with its satisfyingly inventive spirit.
It’s partly told through the police procedural point of view of Bengt Nilsson, a tone deaf cop who hates music, and partly through the four movements the chaotic percussionists are playing in such places as a hospital operating room, a bank (“This is a gig! Everybody keep calm!”), outside an opera house, and finally hanging from high tension power cables.
The rogue gang, lead by Magnus Börjeson (who composed the music for the film) and Sanna Persson, usually leaves a metronome behind at the scene of the crime, er, gig, so that helps Nilsson to follow their trail.
There’s a surreal element here, where Nilsson can’t hear anything the drummers have played on - he tries to make a metal bedroom clang against the wall in the hospital but he hears nothing. It’s sort of the reverse of what Jean Dujardin went though in the dream scene in THE ARTIST.
Börjeson drops away as a major character pretty early on, and the movie mostly concentrates on Nilsson and Persson.
Persson has a priceless back story in which she was expelled from the music academy for flooding their concert hall during one of her experimental recitals.
When Persson says “Listen to this city contaminated by shitty music…it’s time to strike back” she sounds like she really means it, and I don’t speak Swedish so I think that’s impressive.
Nilsson’s anti-music/anti-any kind of noise stance comes from being from a family of musicians. As Nilsson’s famous composer brother, Sven Ahlström, at first appears like a condescending jerk that the movie will make fun of, but thankfully screenwriters Jim Birmant, Ola Simonsson, and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson had better ideas.
Once one gets the hang of it the narrative may seem a bit transparent (and there may be too many convenient coincidences), but there’s a lot of pure amusement here.
As recent comic thrillers go, I sure liked the sound of this noise.