Netflixable? Belgian “Noise” eats up your quiet time as you try to make sense of it

One of the advantages to streaming services is that they afford you the chance to repeatedly rewind, to help you catch a plot twist you may have missed or unravel a conclusion that seems muddled.

Which is exactly what I did rather than simply scratch my head and mutter, “Say what now?” at the end of the quiet, slow-burn Belgian thriller “Noise.” Not that rewatching portions of it helped.

It begins with a woman walking into a lake to commit suicide, cuts to decades later, when her son tries to reveal a cover-up in an industrial accident that involved his father, all while living his “influencer” life with his beautiful girlfriend and their new baby on the family estate he stands to inherit.

We’re no clearer what it’s been about at the end than we are at the beginning.

Matthias (Ward Kerremans) becomes increasingly obsessed with “noise.” Only not really. He’s got control issues with girlfriend Liv’s efforts to run a catering business in the small town where he grew up and self-esteem/self-worth problems stemming from his contributes-nothing-to-society job, guilt over that long-ago chemical accident at the family factory and a father (Johan Leysen) who has checked into a rest home with dementia.

Throw in his mother’s problems — known and unknown — and you can start to understand why he’s wound up tight, anxious to check out his father’s rambling “kept it out of the papers” cover-up of a deadly accident, hallucinating the bricks of their basement floor rising and falling, and if some presence is breathing under there, buried alive.

Well, “understand” may be stretching things a bit. Hitchcock was famous for attempting psychological explanations for character behavior in films such as “Spellbound,” “Psycho,” “Rope,” “Marnie” and “Frenzy.” Given the limitations of the field at the time he was making these films, that has made these age poorly, at least in those regards.

Director and co-writer Steffen Geypens (“Logger”) struggles to do that in the third act of “Noise.” But those efforts are diffuse and a tad incoherent. The cause and effect is sloppy and the “Noise” of the title is painfully undeveloped as a subtext.

Matthias is going mad because of “noise” we don’t hear or notice? Is that related to what he didn’t hear when his mother killed herself?

And how does that fold into his increasing resentment of Liv, her work and that noisy baby they have together? Is he unplugging the big freezer where she stores her ingredients for catering to sabotage her business, or because it is making “noise?” I’d say the former, but Geypens doesn’t make that clear.

A lot of the issues stem from the film’s short running time and flat storytelling and pacing. He doesn’t have the screen time to develop these ideas, and doesn’t move things along quickly enough to give the film any urgency.

And when he reaches his seriously clumsy conclusion, re-watching the third act doesn’t help.

Rating: TV-MA, suicide, violence

Cast: Ward Kerremans, Sallie Harmsen, Johan Leysen and Jesse Mensah

Credits: Directed by Steffen Geypens, scripted by Steffen Geypens, Robin Kerremans and Hasse Steenssens A Netflix release.

Running time: 1:29


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Netflixable? Belgian “Noise” eats up your quiet time as you try to make sense of it

  1. D Naylor says:

    Absolute ‘pile ‘o pants’!!
    Did not much made sense; so many tenuous threads!
    Nothing added up or joined up so you were left with so many ‘what ifs’?…’ could that’?…..’is that’?…… very one dimensional characters…so many hints of ‘deeper stories within’….. various allusions to a ‘deeper level of subplots’…but nothing was concluded or made sense at the end….were these film art students putting this together?🤔🤔

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