Thursday, July 10, 2008

The best Australian crime drama/thriller I’ve ever seen!

I watched "Noise" last night, and it was pretty good. The movie starts with a young woman, Lavinia, walking through a commuter train station in a Melbourne suburb. It's late a night, and she just got off work at McDonalds. She's immersed in her headphones, paying little attention to the world around her as she sits down in a train car. A moment later, she notices a nearby passenger slump to the floor. Lavinia gets up to help her; it's then, to her terror, that she realizes that everyone else on the car has been shot to death.
The film then switches to its other focal character, Graham, a police officer. At another train station, he collapses and hits his head on an escalator. A short while later, he is diagnosed with tinnitus; he's had ringing in his ears for more than a year, he tells the doctor, but it's never before made him dizzy or made him black out. His unsympathetic superiors put him on duty interviewing locals in a mobile police office near another crime scene in another part of town.
The movie switches back and forth between Lavinia and Graham as they deal with the various people who have been affected by the crimes. Lavinia is fearful that the killer will target her next; Graham is bored sitting in his police caravan all night, and seems to consider his duty somewhat pointless. The story develops emotional depth as various secondary characters drop in and out, giving glimpses of the tragedy's impact on the larger community. Questions develop about the backgrounds and motivations of the different characters.
Most of these questions are never answered. Clues and tie-ins are dropped throughout the story, but the exact nature of some character relationships is never explained. We aren't given a start to the story, and the film ends abruptly with a climax but no dénouement.
The noise of the title is something of a conceit; it's not central to the plot, but great attention was paid to the audio aspects of the movie. We frequently hear the ringing in Graham's ears. The soundtrack, also, is subtle and a little haunting. The focus on sound would seem pretentious except that it's still secondary to engaging characters and great acting.


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