Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Reviews: 'Hail, Caesar!' Is the Coens at Their Best First Reviews: 'Hail, Caesar!' Is the Coens at Their Best A.O. Scott and Why It's a Critic's Duty to Be Wrong A.O. Scott and Why It's a Critic's Duty to Be Wrong Kristen Wiig's 'AbracaDeborah' Is the Non-Existent Sundance Movie Everyone's Talking About Kristen Wiig's 'AbracaDeborah' Is the Non-Existent Sundance Movie Everyone's Talking About Film Writers Narrowly Escape Tragedy in Sundance Accident Film Writers Narrowly Escape Tragedy in Sundance Accident Is There More to Louis C.K.'s 'Horace and Pete' Than Its Surprise Release? Is There More to Louis C.K.'s 'Horace and Pete' Than Its Surprise Release? Natalie Portman's Doomed Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Gets Shot Down by Critics Natalie Portman's Doomed Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Gets Shot Down by Critics New Classics: Greg Mottola's 'Adventureland' New Classics: Greg Mottola's 'Adventureland' 'Manchester by the Sea,' Indiewire's Sundance Critics Poll Winner, Is Part Tragedy, Part Farce 'Manchester by the Sea,' Indiewire's Sundance Critics Poll Winner, Is Part Tragedy, Part Farce Daily Reads: Why the Disney Vault Needs to Go Away, How the Republican Primaries Have Broken 'SNL,' and More Daily Reads: Why the Disney Vault Needs to Go Away, How the Republican Primaries Have Broken 'SNL,' and More The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming The Totally Insane Ending to 'Little Boy' Has Critics Fuming Daily Reads: The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy, When TV Drama Cover The Iowa Caucus, and More Daily Reads: The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy, When TV Drama Cover The Iowa Caucus, and More Daily Reads: The 'Hollywood Blackout' Controversy at the 1996 Academy Awards, Everybody's a Critic and That's How it Should Be, and More Daily Reads: The 'Hollywood Blackout' Controversy at the 1996 Academy Awards, Everybody's a Critic and That's How it Should Be, and More Adam Sandler's 'The Ridiculous 6' Is Getting Some of the Year's Most Hilariously Scathing Reviews Adam Sandler's 'The Ridiculous 6' Is Getting Some of the Year's Most Hilariously Scathing Reviews Could 'The Hateful Eight' Kill Film Instead of Saving It? Could 'The Hateful Eight' Kill Film Instead of Saving It? One of the Best Movies of 2015 Is Now Available On Demand. (Also It's 16 Minutes Long.) One of the Best Movies of 2015 Is Now Available On Demand. (Also It's 16 Minutes Long.) 'The Gift': A Great Thriller (Almost) Ruined By a Terrible Ending 'The Gift': A Great Thriller (Almost) Ruined By a Terrible Ending 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Why Rey's Hypercompetence Is a Feature, Not a Bug 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Why Rey's Hypercompetence Is a Feature, Not a Bug Is 'Horace and Pete' Worth $5? And Who's Asking, Anyway? Is 'Horace and Pete' Worth $5? And Who's Asking, Anyway? Fear of a Black Dingus: Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' Fear of a Black Dingus: Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight' Daniel Radcliffe's Farting Corpse Stars in the Movie That's Tearing Sundance Apart Daniel Radcliffe's Farting Corpse Stars in the Movie That's Tearing Sundance Apart

From the Wire: "Sound of Noise" Delights in Different Ways

Photo of Steve Greene By Steve Greene | Criticwire March 8, 2012 at 4:12PM

In reviews of films with musical elements, it's usually either the tunes or the telling that get the primary consideration.
0

When a film is riding a crest of positive feedback, it’s always intriguing to see how critics choose to make their individual waves. "Sound of Noise," the new film from the Swedish team of Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson tells the story of six drummers who try to level the foundations of their city (literally and figuratively) through sheer sonic power. It's getting some glowing reviews, but for different reasons. Some critics are praising the story for its subversion, whether of the cinematic or musical communities. Jesse Cataldo writes in Slant Magazine:

A still from "Sound of Noise."
A still from "Sound of Noise."

“Sound of Noise is ultimately winning because of its devilish anarchic streak, aiming its arrows at the stuffiness of the traditional musical establishment...The transgressive joy of their actions is aided by the fact that the film never grows mean spirited, sowing a mania for music and an extensive goodwill that, by the end, has expanded to envelop its increasingly sympathetic villain. The film may not know exactly what to do with its characters, but it at least shows them a healthy measure of respect.”

Meanwhile, Noah Lee concludes his Film Threat review by emphasizing that the music is just plain fun to behold:

“When music is at the center of a movie its important for it to excel and in 'Sound of Noise,' it does. Every session is a treat of varying rhythms, styles and sounds. For the musically inclined, this is a hard movie not to like. The premise is fresh and the execution is tight.”

Since blanketing a film with complete, unequivocal approval is never fully satisfying, one of these elements will simply pop out in a review more than another. “Once,” which like "Sound of Noise" has a considerable musical component, left some people more taken with the songs than the love story (and vice versa). Obviously, the musical practice of “utilizing...beds, vacuum cleaners and egg slicers, books, perfume bottles and lamp switches” (Lee’s description of the “Sound of Noise” crew’s tactics) is in a different universe from “Falling Slowly” or “Lies,” some of the best tracks from “Once.” But the enduring battle of music vs. story is an interesting tug-of-war in talking about the artistic success of these kinds of films, whether they take place in Sweden or Ireland or anywhere else outside of Europe. 

This article is related to: From the Wire, Sound of Noise, Once


E-Mail Updates