Sound Of Noise is a Swedish surrealist comedy directed by Ola Simmonson and Johannes Nilsson and starring Sanna Persson and Magnus Borjesson as themselves and Bengt Nilsson as Amadeus Warnebring, a detective.
Warnebring is a black sheep in his family, who are all proficient classical musicians, as he is tone deaf. As a result he has developed a hatred for music, and works as a detective in Stockholm’s police service. His world is turned upside down when Persson, Borjesson and four other drummers perform a conceptual symphony that terrorises the city; crimes he must solve.
For a start, if you’re a music fan you will love this film. If you’re a fan of surrealist comedy, you will also love this film.
Let’s first look at the four movements in the ‘symphony.’
- Doctor, Doctor, Gimme Gas In My Ass
- Money 4 U Honey
- Fuck The Music (Kill! Kill!)
- Electric Love
Doctor Doctor is performed in a hospital on a patient who is an entitled TV presenter. The six drummers use the various hospital equipment as the presenter’s flabby stomach as their sound sources. That already sounds intriguing; but consider also the nihilism of the drummers against the uptight nature of the hospital and the patient.
They take a bully, a man who is used to getting what he wants in a comfort zone where everything is provided for him and reverse the balance of control.
Money 4 U Honey is more obvious in its themes against crony capitalism and the over reliance on money. As they shred bank notes a young businessman screams. Again their nihilism trumps the fragile boundaries of societal needs.
Fuck The Music is more of a revenge piece for Anders, who was previous employed at the opera house they attack/perform upon. Anders played the timpani for the orchestra, coincidentally conducted by Warnebring’s brother, but was thrown out after he and the conductor argued about his timing.
But the protest also contends what should be considered as music. The concert-goers epitomise an atmosphere of upper class fustiness and elitism. The irony is that few are actually engaged with the music, especially not Warnebring who can’t stand it; yet the drumming with diggers and road maintenance equipment captures the attention of and affects everyone.
Electric Love involves the drummers playing the city’s power lines with bows – this causes power to fluctuate within the city. With this, the drummers have achieved what few musicians ever have; involved an entire city in a piece of music.
At the same time, Warnebring somehow finds that he is no longer able to hear any sound from anything the drummers play on. This is a dream come true for him as due to his tone-deafness and overbearing musical family, he has longed for music ‘made up of silences.’
From opposite poles of hating music and loving music, Warnebring and the drummers come to want the same thing as their music represents in a slightly convoluted way, a manner for him to be able to listen to music differently, so that he can enjoy it. The film manages to convey that music is for everyone to enjoy, not just a select few.
As well as the philosophy and great music, the film manages to communicate its comedy fantastically as well. The symphony’s movements are as funny as they are musically interesting; especially Doctor Doctor, due to the bizarre sight of what’s happening. Warnebring’s confusion and later unravelling at these strange crimes and his selective loss of hearing also create a number of humorous situations. I don’t want to describe them in too much detail here as it won’t do them justice. Show don’t tell.
If my brief analysis has piqued your interest, please watch the film; it’s one of my favourites. As well as all of its aforementioned good points, the acting is great as well, believable in fact, despite how unbelievable the story is! Be amazed, be taken on a journey you won’t forget. Listen to the Sound Of Noise. 10/10