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“Sound of Noise,” Reviewed

"Sound of Noise," Reviewed (photo)

A group of "musical terrorists" use a city's institutions to play an unconventional symphony in this clever comedy from Sweden.

Reviewed at Fantastic Fest 2010.

For a fresh take on the heist movie, just add music. The inventive Swedish comedy “Sound of Noise” (directed by Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson) is about a band of musical malcontents who break into a hospital, a bank (“This is a gig! We’re only here for the music!” they yell) and other public places to play compositions using the surroundings as their instruments. Led by Sanna (Sanna Persson), the sextet attempt to perform a piece called “Music for One City and Six Drummers” that composer Magnus (Magnus Börjeson) describes, in a mild understatement, as “conceptual.”

But in a town where the major musical excitement surrounds a Haydn concert and speakers on the street pipe in saccharine muzak, a little sonic terrorism doesn’t seem entirely out of the question. It’s “Sound of Noise”‘s central lark that instead of this rebellion arriving via the usual path of rock and roll, it comes from an anarchist collective of black glasses-wearing musical outcasts who take their aesthetic principals as seriously as similar ones would take their political beliefs.

Sanna, inspired by Magnus’ work, decides it has to be performed despite the risks, and in gladdening twist on the typical recruiting-the-team scenario retrieves worthy colleagues from unhappy gigs as the rhythm sections of house bands and orchestras. But the team’s actions — they keep time with and leave behind at each location an old-fashioned metronome — attract the attention of the local law enforcement. The case is assigned to Amadeus Warnebring (Bengt Nilsson), the tone-deaf policeman son of a famous musical family, who sets about tracking the dissidents as they work their way through the four movements of their symphony.

“Sound of Noise” is light and insubstantial as a feather, but the performances are something to see. The six drummers use everything from a paper shredder to electric wires to power tools to an unconscious human being to make their music, the percussion combining to make aurally interesting tunes edited rhythmically to emphasize how they’re being sculpted out of the everyday sounds we’ve long ago stopped noticing.

The short from which “Sound of Noise” came, “Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers,” is up on YouTube:

“Sound of Noise” does not yet have US distribution.

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