Sound of Noise

Dir: Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson
Star: Bengt Nilsson, Sanna Persson, Magnus Borjeson, Marcus Haraldson Boij

Sanna and Magnus (Persson and Borjeson) are anarchic musicians, expelled from their formal training, who decide to rebel against the flaccid state of sound in everyday life. They and their accomplices embark on a series of cultural terrorist attacks, staging performances of percussion-based artworks by invading a hospital and bank, or outside a hall during a Haydn concert, using anything from a bulldozer to rubber date-stamps as instruments. The cop tasked with chasing them down is Amadeus Warnebring (Nilsson): as his name suggests, he was born into an intensely musical family, but unfortunately, is completely tone-deaf, and as a result hates all traditional music with a passion. So he might have more in common with the perpetrators than he initially thinks, and he closes in on them, as they prepare for the piece de resistance, to be played on the city's power-grid.

This is certainly unlike any other film you've seen before, and that's a good chunk of the appeal; it certainly makes great use of music, to the extent that you wish those sequences ran longer (even if the finale is somewhat disappointing, in comparison to the sheer inventiveness shown by the other pieces). Amadeus is a nice twist on the usual dogged, world-weary cop, with facets of his character which may not make sense in a logical way, but fit perfectly into this universe, such as how he can't "hear" any of the instruments being played by the terrorists. It's typically, drily Scandinavian in terms of the sense of surreal humour which runs through this, such as the tedium from which the percussionists break free, their talents sadly underused by the conventional musical establishment. Somewhere between Stomp and Point Break, the ending doesn't quite justify the means, but given the unique qualities it has shown on the way there, I can't bring myself to criticize it for that.

[September 2012]

Louder than bombs
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