White Noise

One more in 2022.

I had watched YouTube critic Dan Murrell’s Top 10 movies of the year and he had listed White Noise as one of them. I had never heard of it, so I added it to the list for a potential June Swoon after five months. However, as I opened up Netflix this morning, I saw that White Noise was now available to watch, and I decided not to wait until June and to watch it today.

White Noise was adapted and directed by Noah Baumbach. It was adapted from a novel of the same name by author Don DeLillo. It was one of the stranger films that I have seen this year.

The plot synopsis is a bit challenging, because it felt a little all over the place. According to IMDB, White Noise “Dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world.”

That synopsis boiled the film down to its basic concept. How it gets there is quite the trip. It included a weird family, a mysterious drug, and an airborne toxic event that led to a city-wide evacuation. Jack (Adam Driver) is a professor of Hitler studies. His fourth wife, Babette (Greta Gerwig) is secretly taking an unknown medication. There is also another professor, Prof. Murray Siskind (Don Cheadle) who wants to develop an “Elvis” studies. Cheadle is not essential to the film, but he adds a lot of strange humor.

The dialogue of this movie was the best part and it was delivered so entertainingly by Driver, Gerwig and the entire group of kids from their family. They were all very intriguing characters with their own quirks and odd behaviors. The characters were certainly written as intelligent people, but they may not have a ton of social skills for the outside world.

Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig were great as the lead couple. Their grounding of their relationship and the relationship with their kids is what kept the movie from losing its way, which was absolutely a danger with all of the strangeness that was going on in the story. Without Driver and Gerwig’s work, the seemingly randomness of the plot points would never have worked.

Don Cheadle was hilarious with his apparent obsession with Elvis and his attempts to get the Hitler professor to help him out. The kids all were very solid acting wise as well.

There were some who believed that the White Noise novel was unadaptable for the screen, and, while I have not read the novel, the film held my attention and entertained me throughout. I was never quite sure where it was heading and I liked that.

3.75 stars

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