Posted by Jenn Winterbine
11. May, 2011
Matthew Saville’s thriller Noise follows the story of a lackluster policeman, Graham (Brendan Cowell), who has recently been diagnosed with tinnitus. Confined to working night shift in a caravan, he soon meets Lavinia (Maia Thomas), a young woman who has just witnessed a mass shooting on a Melbourne train. As the mystery unfolds, we learn more about the characters as they uncover small clues as to the identity of the killer.
Influenced by the tragic Port Arthur Massacre, Noise explores the notion that seemingly everyday life can be interrupted by the chaos of random violence, altering the course of one’s life forever. The city of Melbourne has had its fair share of such violence, with gangland shootings, the Walsh Street Murders and the Russell Street bombing.
Noise is jam-packed full of familiar Melbourne places, from the Flinders Street underground to the tartan coverings of rusty train seats, it showcases everyday scenes of Melbourne life in glorious 35mm. Most of the film is set in the working class suburb of Sunshine, which is portrayed as a close-knit community in which locals know each other’s secrets. The wide shots of Sunshine’s shopping strip offer respite from the claustrophobic scenes inside the police caravan.
The film is also notable for its elaborate soundtrack, which was designed by award-winning Emma Bortignon. The soundtrack offers the viewer a unique auditory experience in which tinnitus becomes a character itself. Everyday sounds, from the clinking of coffee cups to the nagging ring of a telephone, merge into a deafening crescendo of noise that reaches fever pitch.
Noise is a gem for its crisp cinematography, striking soundtrack and well-written screenplay. It is a slick tale of how one’s daily routine can descend into a nightmare in the blink of an eye. For its widescreen depiction of the western suburbs, it is a Melbourne Classic.
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