New SIFF Review: Sound of Noise

"I really dislike music," says a cop ironically named Amadeus, and this ingenious Swedish comedy soon makes it clear why. His younger brother is a pompous, famous symphony conductor; his father is an overbearing musician, too; and poor Amadeus is tone-deaf. For him, then, the worst possible case to investigate would be a rogue gang of percussionists who make the whole city a venue for performances that the authorities call terrorism. Sneaking into a hospital, they commandeer an OR, then use the oxygen machine, beeping heart monitor, surgical steel, and a patient's bulbous gut to play a delightful conga. Taking their rhythmic anarchism even further, they steal road-construction machinery and perform a symphony for jackhammer and wrecking ball.

Though Sound of Noise is mainly a police procedural played for laughs, directors Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson open your ears to the incidental pulses and rhythms of the city--all the background "noise" that's more interesting than the awful Muzak some stores (and municipalities) pipe into the streets. (In a car chase, the rumble strips and thick-painted lane dividers produce a lovely chunka-chunka/brrrr pattern beneath the speeding tires.) You just have to be alert to such sonic textures, as the guerrilla musicians are. For poor Amadeus, however, even as be becomes smitten with the lone women in the avant-garde gang, his ears are being both awakened and destroyed. (His gradual hearing loss is at odds with the rest of the story.) And for viewers, too, the metronome's malevolent clicking takes on an entirely new meaning. BRIAN MILLER (Neptune: 7 p.m. Thurs., June 9 and 1:15 p.m. Sat., June 11.)

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