Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Evdery week I try to showcase decent, relatively unknown movies for my 2.4 loyal readers. It’s not necessarily an easy thing, since most quality films don’t stay unknown for very long. Some of my recommendations are therefore less heartfelt than others. But every now and then I stumble on something truly special, a movie so good it should be much, much more well known than it is. Such is the case with Noise (Netflix), a lovely, tense, and even inspiring film I’m shocked didn’t ride an appearance at Sundance in 2007 to worldwide distribution and international acclaim.
On the outside Noise is a police thriller about the Melbourne PD’s efforts to solve a gruesome mass murder that recently rocked the quiet, unprepared city. But it’s infinitely more complex than a simple whodunnit, a fact that becomes immediately apparent when the assailant shows up half way through the film and starts interacting with unsuspecting investigators.
At its heart, Noise is one of those movies that surprises with its sympathetic depictions of lost souls. Similar to Best Picture winner Crash, Noise sets up some characters in an unfavorable light, intentionally generating certain expectations, only to turn around and show their tender vulnerabilities and need for compassion. One scene in particular threw me for a loop, when a guy with an understandable grudge confronts the lone survivor of the massacre. His goal is to tell her off for (inadvertently) getting him fired, but she assumes he’s the killer, come to finish the job. After she realizes she’s not about to die, the poor girl loses her shit. And what does our man do? His rage deflated, he drives her home, explaining that he didn’t know who she was, that he never would have followed her had he known. By the end of it, HE’S the one crying and she, the victim, in the position of power to grant or withhold absolution. It’s incredibly moving. Unless you’re dead on the inside, it’s impossible to view without sympathy such fractured psyches laid bare.
Added bonus: Noise is a bit of a shit title, but it’s fitting nevertheless and works on several levels. The most literal is the lead character’s tinnitus, which flares up unexpectedly and gives him all sorts of anxiety. By the end of the movie, the sound design forces the audience to listen to to the overloud, high-pitched ringing, which seems to go on forever. I didn’t notice at first but when it finally stopped I realized my ears actually hurt. Suddenly I more than sympathized, I actually felt what he felt.