Lavinia Smart (Maia Thomas) is the sole survivor of a suburban train massacre. Graham McGahan (Brendan Cowell) is a cop in suburban Melbourne where another violent murder rocks the community. He lives with his girlfriend, Const. Caitlin Robinson (Katie Wall), but is reluctant to let himself be vulnerable, even after being diagnosed with tinnitus - could it be a sign of cancer? McGahan is demoted to light duties, manning a mobile police caravan, located near the murder scene. Locals are invited to report any signs of suspicious behaviour, but it is clear that the van is little more than a novelty. Biscuits and condoms are offered to the locals as they pop in to chat, abuse the cops and maybe confide. All the while, Lavinia is terrified the train killer will find her and silence the only witness to his crime.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
One of the pleasures of Noise is its defiance of its genre - while retaining some of the thriller genre elements, it uses the structure to say something altogether different. In his debut film, Matthew Saville tries to place the extraordinary within the ordinary: serial killer on the loose and countering heroics reduced to the quotidian, the kind of casual, everyday banality that could also drive the decision to impulse-buy a pair of shoes, say. But there are two difficulties for audiences approaching this film; one is the title, which refers to the medical condition of tinnitus that local cop Graham McGahan suffers from. By elevating it to the title, it is given a greater significance than is warranted by the screenplay. Unless, of course, you come out of the film and try to ascribe symbolic motives -such as the surrounding noise of daily suburban life as the backdrop for unusual, shattering events. But, well, this seems a bit manufactured.
The second difficulty is to do with the film's very strength: its bravery in eschewing thriller action in favour of character watching is also its weak spot, destabilising our expectations.
But by the sheer strength of the work, its originality and the excellent level of performances, Noise overcomes its self-imposed hurdles as it insinuates itself into our psyche. The relatively unfamiliar faces of the cast on our cinema screens is a contributing factor to the sense of veracity. Yet Saville creates a movie reality that is both authentic and cinematic.
All the relationships are well observed, from the flattened romance of live in lovers Graham and Caitlin, to the frictional intra-police work relationships and the robust relationships between Graham and the public who pop in to his post - where some of the film's subtext drama takes place. Noise is an interesting work, notable for its lack of hysterics in dealing with appalling crimes and yet insightful of them.
There's a cast and crew commentary on the DVD.
Published October 18, 2007
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NOISE: DVD (MA)
CAST: Brendan Cowell, Maia Thomas, Nicholas Bell, Richard Cawthorne, Luke Elliot, Simon King, Fiona MacLeod, Henry Nixon, Damien Richardson, Katie Wall
PRODUCER: Trevor Blainey
DIRECTOR: Matthew Saville
SCRIPT: Matthew Saville
CINEMATOGRAPHER: László Baranyai
EDITOR: Geoff Hitchins
MUSIC: Bryony Marks
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paddy Reardon
RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 3,2007
SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast and crew commentary
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: October 10, 2007