“Ma! It happened again!”
“…Oh, you didn’t watch the Netflix movie just because it had a nice looking poster, did you? And because the algorithm told you to?”
“Yes, Ma. Sorry, Ma”
When you first hear of Noise it does sound intriguing. This Belgian thriller seemingly has a spooky and isolated house, a dark family past, and a man driven to psychosis by an aversion to noise – something difficult to avoid with a new-born baby to care for.
Whatever central plot is lurking away underneath it all, Noise certainly grapples with the stamina-draining stress of lack of sleep combined with an ever-present noisy infant.
What Is Noise About?
Matthias (Ward Kerremans) gives it everything he’s got as a man slowly falling to pieces with dad shock. That he moved his family to his dementia-suffering father’s secluded house to avoid noise seems fatally flawed, considering their baby son is right there.
For the first half of the movie such bubbling tensions are built up intriguingly. Something shocking happened at the local factory that was run by Matthias’ father.
The few people left in town will barely speak of it, and the father, Pol (Johan Leysen) is rarely coherent enough to provide details. And what happened to Matthias’ long deceased mother on the very grounds he now resides?
Kerremans gives his slow slide into mania plenty of face-twisting oomph, accentuated by Steffan Geypens’ creeping direction and gently distorted close-ups.
This and the deteriorating relationship between Matthias and wife, Liv (Sallie Harmsen) drags the momentum along to begin with.
Noise Official trailer
Is Noise Worth Watching?
Yet there comes a point in Noise – probably just after the half way mark – when it becomes clear that the wailing is apropos of nothing. The stronger and more observed the dissolution of Matthias’ mental state is, the less and less believable Liv’s decisions become.
Not only that, but the last act sadly fumbles the whole premise so strongly that a cursory glance of the online consensus of Noise reveals a large chunk of people feeling left short-changed.
This isn’t a case of a few unanswered questions. This is a case of the credits rolling as you blink at the screen, wondering what on earth the last 90 minutes were all for.
Partly this can be blamed on a rather incongruous snippet of information buried in some onscreen text that not only doesn’t explain what Noise implies it explains, but actually smacks of being impossible.
Partly this can be blamed on simply abandoning one character and totally losing interest in another. And partly this can be blamed on an ending that resolves nothing, but treats what has been obvious all along as some kind of revelation.
Noise mishears its own ending with such face-screwing confusion that it makes you wonder if you were having the same conversation you thought you were at all.
This is a shame as the first half of the movie showed genuine promise, with even some hallucinatory scenes that echo an Edgar Allen Poe reference. But sadly, much like having a new-born baby, all that madness mutes once you sleep on it.
Words by Mike Record