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The script introduces us to idiosyncratic characters, dialogue with an ear for the vulgar and the literate. The pace of the editing were dead-on. The music and sound design were perfect.
Still, "Noise" is refreshing in elements. Key decisive moments are amply teased ahead, producing more tension than you see in a lot of indy "psycological thrillers." The accrual of stresses on a frustrated NYC studio-dweller ring rough and rudimentary, but true. The protagonist's choices are as much to blame for her decline as her antagonist's boorish provocations, and the subway shots and outdoor scenes lack the stylized glamour (and/or overly glorified dinginess) that mark them as false in mainstream productions. This flick is nothing if not quotidian in its trappings.
There are also a handful of lines that really could have dangled like cigarettes from the mouths of European-inflected windbags in the publishing industry 'round these parts. But couldn't they have come up with something better than "Gotham" as a standin for New York Magazine? (If that's a spoiler for you, you probably need a Metrocard more than you need "Noise" on your Netflix list.)
There is a smattering of homage to classic apartment thrillers like Single White Female and Rosemary's Baby, but they only serve to highlight Noise's thin budget, cinematography and script. A half-dozen lines, including the detective's final valediction, suggest the playwright longs for something better, and knows it ain't quite happening here. Give it a shot if, like the protagonist, you're stuck at home on a rainy Tuesday with a bottle of hooch and nothing else worth trying on Video On Demand.
This isn't Polanski or DePalma but it sure made an impact on me. Catch it on cable or go out and rent it...you won't be disappointed!
A recently divorced woman moves into a new apartment and tries to move on with her life. She soon discovers that her upstairs neighbor likes to crank up the noise at all hours of the night and keep her awake. When civility fails to resolve the problem and outside issues further complicate matters, the young lady must take more drastic steps.
From the start the film is determined to take it's time. Every scene unrolls at a languid pace, almost like it's challenging the audience to stay awake. Long, often pointlessly so, dialogue exchanges continue for what seems like an eternity only to end just in time for yet another needlessly lengthy dialogue exchange.
It would be fair to say that this over-abundance of exposition serves to build tension, except that there is little of no pay off to all the waiting. One could also say that it expounds on the character personalities were it not for that fact that in the end every one is motivated by either petty or unexplained reasons.
The filming matches the script to a 'T'. Aside for the occasional sporadic (actually kind of jarring) jump cuts, the film follows the events as they are, never appearing to be any more interested in what's happening that it needs to be.
The actors are what they are, an art house crowd for the most part. The lead actress is attractive (if REALLY skinny) and does a decent job with a character we have seen many times before. Ally Sheedy tries for neurotic, but comes off annoying.
Art house crowds might dig it's detached vibe, but most audiences will have a hard time ridding it to conclusion.
Joyce Chandler (Trish Goff) is an aloof and colorless young woman who just got divorced from her middle aged husband Elliot (David Thornton). She's just moved into the second floor of a somewhat run down three story building, sandwiched between the ground floor furniture store run by a charming dude named Hank (Giancarlo Esposito) and an upstairs neighbor named Charlotte Bancroft (Ally Sheedy) who torments Joyce with loud noises in the middle of the night. In between Joyce working as a copy editor and attending a divorced women's group that turns into something out of China's Cultural Revolution, we learn why her marriage with Elliot ended and watch her upstairs neighbor turn into a slut. Then the film just sort of ends and tries to act like it's all been about this war of manners gone out of control between Joyce and Charlotte, even though they hardly spoke to each other through the whole thing.
Noise is an adaptation of a novel, which is usually problematic. Any good book, especially if it's more literary than genre work, is going to contain far more than can fit into a movie. These filmmakers appear to have made the classic mistake of trying to get a little bit of everything from the novel onto the screen, with the expected result that none of it amounts to anything. Instead of giving us a single story, Noise tosses a bunch of individual chapters at the viewer and leaves you with the sense that you're missing something. I mean, this tale ends with a police investigation and introduces a detective character played by Adam Ferrara about halfway through. But at the end, instead of using that guy to wrap things up, a different and never before seen or referenced detective character played by John Slattery is brought on stage and he's the one who brings down the curtain. Not only does that make no dramatic sense, but the fact Noise finishes up with a dodge that tosses realism and logic out the window is only underscored by having somebody the audience has never seen or heard before bring it about.
The bits and pieces here are okay. The direction is fine, the dialog is all right but unexceptional, the pacing is adequate and the acting is acceptable. Trish Goff is nearly blown off the screen by Ally Sheedy, but that's somewhat on purpose because Charlotte is an obviously unstable person while Joyce is unlikable and unexpressive. Making your main character unlikable and unexpressive is a pretty fatal combination, however.
Noise isn't aggravating or irritating. It's also isn't interesting or provocative. Neither dark nor light, hot nor cold, this production is wan and tepid. I've seen some punishingly hideous films that were an affront to the Human spirit, but I'd rather watch one of them again than this cinematic non-entity.
I love character pieces, especially when the character is enigmatic and troubled, which Joyce definitely is, to put it lightly. You name the dysfunction, Joyce pretty much has it, mostly from a lifetime of being pushed around and abused by everyone from her ex (David Thornton) to complete strangers. Following the break from Thornton, she seems ready to flip a switch and turn a corner, but she keeps falling into the same traps.
Namely, she moves into an apartment in a large old building in New York directly under Charlotte (Ally Sheedy, who is so right for this part it's sometimes painful to watch). Charlotte blasts music, stomps around at all hours of the night, has the Loudest Sex Imaginable and seems overall immune to any defense Joyce can peacefully offer. Now this might take its toll on a normal person, but for a woman as close to the edge of the cliff as Joyce is... well... it makes for a very suspenseful, taut, engaging storyline that really is only the tip of the film's iceberg.
Trish Goff plays Joyce with a boiling repression that's wonderful to behold. Her performance reminded me a lot of Sandy McCloud's other NYC woman on the edge of sanity in Lizzie Borden's "Variety" and that's a high compliment, though "Noise" is a much better, more realized film because it offers us a compelling plot on the surface and then gives us so much emotional angst and complexity as icing on the cake.
I think people have liked this movie for the wrong reasons, kind of how they cheered Travis Bickle on in "Taxi Driver". If you watch closely you'll notice at the end of the film how much Joyce has become like her nemesis... she's "totally put together" now as well. Or not.
Lots of good performances here, especially Esposito and also check out John Slattery in the type of part he used to get a lot in New York pre-Mad Men. And Sheedy has never been more convincingly bat-sh*t crazy. But Trish Goff is the real find here --- she makes Joyce so empathic it's hard to not realize she's close to the nut-house herself.
If you're looking for something similar, check out "The Upstairs Neighbor" (if you can find it).
Terrible acting from the lead, Goff, combined with a plodding unbelievable story and stilted dialog make this almost unbearable.
Sheedy is the only one to turn in a good performance but unfortunately her character is not believable.
Even movies I don't like get credit for the efforts of those involved. Just because I don't like it, that doesn't make it a bad movie. But the effort behind this must have been minimal.
As others have said; Polaski it ain't.
Moving into a Manhattan apartment house Joyce is about to start a new life after she broke up with her boyfriend Elliot, David Thornton. Joyce also gets a job with Gothom Press as a proof reader. The first night in her apartment Joyce is tormented with load noise coming from her upstairs neighbor.
The noise ,that continues for a couple of nights, is so nerve wracking that Joyce not only slips a note under the neighbor's door telling her to quite down but also calls the police for help. The neighbor Charlotte Bancroft, Ally Sheely, later knocks on Joyce's door and apologizes for her keeping her awake with her music and then invite her up for tea and cookies which Joyce declines.
At first you think that Charlotte is trying to make up with Joyce over what happened but later she's back again with the stomping and what sounds like military marching music that drives Joyce to the point where she begins to drink herself drunk. The drinking leads Joyce to fall apart on her job and is finally let go by her boss Margret, Jodie Markell, after she gave her a week off without pay in order to get herself together. Joyce's only hope is to get back with Elliot who's in Boston. When she calls him for help Joyce finds that he's living with another woman! This makes her depression get that much more severe. It's also found out through Joyce's talk with Elliot that she had an abortion which she can't face up to and is a major reason for her, what later turns out to be, self-loathing.
You start to realize that Joyce's problems are a lot more serious then the noise from upstairs but it's her focus on Charlotte that makes her forget the other far more crippling psychosis' she's suffering from. Talking it over with her neighbor Hank, Giancorlo Esposito, about what to do with Charlotte. Hank tells Joyce to secretly put her, Charlotte's, name in the local newspaper personal page and have those who answer it pay her a visit and maybe with a little luck she'll find the right person, for Joyce, who'll shut her up for good. Doing what Hank told her Joyce gets more then she bargained for in getting Charlotte the right person who ends up breaking her jaw and putting her in the hospital.
The movie begins to swing away from Charlotte and concentrates on Joyce as the really sick person who's in need of help with her drinking as well as picking up a stranger the creepy Larry ,Dov Davidoff, at the local bar. Not that Charlotte hasn't any serious problems herself she seems to suffer for a very deep sense of rejection and it was Joyce's rejection of her that set her off. That rejection had Charlotte go out of her way to destroy Joyce both financially and emotionally as well.
Charlotte recovering from a severe beating that she suffered from one of her man answering the personal add has Joyce over at her apartment for what at first seems like a friendly talk. The talk quickly escalates into a vicious brow beating of Joyce that leads to something that Charlotte never expected. That's what in he end frees Joyce from the control Charlotte had over her forever.
Perhaps many more Yanks will see it now that it has had such a broad exposure via Sundance - yet I wonder if anyone other than plain 'ol ME has had the same thought. You have? Then please do post that up. Thanks.
Unfortunately, Charlotte, the upstairs neighbor, likes to play her music loud, and sometimes she plays music when she can't sleep--even at 4 in the morning. She seems mentally unstable, though she has some sort of a publishing job. But at least her music isn't loud music. It's just played loud.
Joyce gets a job as a copy editor for a publisher. Her boss is nice. Joyce seems ideal for such a job because, after her parents died when she was 6, her grandparents raised her to be a perfectionist. But she has too many of her own ideas, and being new at the company, she is discouraged from trying to shake things up.
With her other problems, Joyce has difficulty coping with Charlotte, but in one really weird scene with fast editing and dreamlike sound, friends tell Joyce what to do about Charlotte. And Joyce's boss is actually a friend of Charlotte's--though this may not necessarily help. Eventually, Joyce finds her own solution, which eventually works, but not in the way Joyce had hoped.
Halfway through this movie, I was prepared to say this was one of the worst movie experiences I ever had. But part of the problem was the fact I had an allergy headache, made worse by really hot weather. Perhaps this gave me a special insight into Joyce's state of mind. But I didn't give up. Joyce didn't move, and I didn't turn off the movie because I didn't know when I'd ever see the rest, and I did want to. By the end of the movie, though, I was feeling better, and maybe not just because of the medication. I think the movie actually improved.
I couldn't stand Joyce. This did not necessarily mean Trish Goff gave a bad performance, though a really good actress might have helped me to like the character. As she was, though, I just couldn't care about Joyce. If her whining and constant drinking weren't enough, there was also the support group. Until I saw "divorced women" in the credits, I didn't know what that meant. It might have also helped if Joyce had been played by a good-looking actress. One character said she was beautiful, but she wasn't in my opinion.
Ally Sheedy did a good job, but she wasn't on screen enough. Her character was likable in a quirky way, but it took work. She looked her age early, but later she turned out to be quite a beauty. Giancarlo Esposito also did a good job as antique store owner Hank, who became Joyce's friend and was quite easy to like. I don't know the name of Joyce's boss, but the actress playing her also did a good job.
As to whether this film was really noisy, I found Charlotte's music irritating, but like Joyce, I have a low tolerance for noise, and my situation was even worse the day I saw this. Yet I'm not sure the noise level really communicated how bad it was for Joyce.
In the credits it said this movie was filmed in a quiet place. Strange, considering there wasn't any other comedy to speak of here.
The whole film seemed to have an eerie tone. Maybe some people enjoy a film like this. It's just not what I'm looking for.
However, it is good for budding screenwriters such as myself: One should not watch only good film to know what is good, they should also, occasionally, watch the bad to know what is bad. And "Noise" is BAD. I won't go on about the film, there's no point. Rent it and find out for yourself if you must.
But I will say this: I am a Wannabe Screenwriter and am currently working on something new. Last night, as it frequently happens, I began suffering from plenty of doubt as to whether anyone would want to sit through my movie, and I decided to take a break from writing. I was not sure if the break would be just for the night or forever! Can you relate? Anyway, the "Noise" DVD had just come in the mail and I popped it in. It was exactly what I needed! Watching that HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE movie I made the assumption that it was the both the writer and director's debut, it was so amateurish. I was wrong. They are experienced award winners...And if people are willing to pay to watch this TERRIBLE movie, they will certainly watch mine.
So I came to the conclusion that I shall continue with my humble screen writing endeavors. After all, IF THEY CAN DO IT, SO CAN I. Thanks, "Noise"!!!!!!!! You don't know what you've done for me.
So the film kicks off with Joyce, in a nutshell, looking for some peace and quiet following some great turmoil in her life. Fast forward (because you won't miss anything) a bit and you eventually see Joyce run into Charlotte, her upstairs neighbor that has a propensity for making loud noises late at night and early in the morning...forcing Joyce to lose some much needed sleep, and at times, her sanity.
Not to give away too much, but the rest of the film is about her conflict with Charlotte, and eventually, finding a final solution to her ongoing problems.
The premise of the film is interesting, and many people (like myself in NYC or other cities) can relate to being driven mad by bad neighbors. However, the script moves at a snail's pace. It's not that I can't enjoy slow films, but the resolution of each new element of drama often is left unresolved, or is unsatisfying given the amount of patience we need to reach it. One example - Joyce inexplicably has sexual encounters with random men, or kisses a good friend out of nowhere. But none of this leads has any relevance to her conflict with Charlotte.
Throughout the movie, we see her lose more sleep, drink more and more, and have hallucinations. But because of a meandering script and terrible character development (we know Joyce is miserable, but does she HAVE to be miserable every time we see her?) - in the end you really don't CARE if she's suffering or not. By the end, I really couldn't care if Joyce died, Charlotte died, or both killed each other in a pool of blood. I give the actors credit for dealing with a screenplay that's all over the place, but in the end, you just don't really care about what happens - especially if the cute lead actress spends the whole movie looking angry, tired (or a combination of both).
It's a shame because the movie had a good premise and a lot of potential.
Parts of this didn't quite make sense to me - I'm not sure whether that's my fault or the film's fault.
Trish Goff, who looks borderline anorexic to me, plays Joyce Chandler a tense young woman, who may be wound a little too tight, but otherwise seems to be essentially normal, moves into an apartment following her divorce.
She soon has a job with Gotham Publishing as a copy writer. Joyce has a large group of female friends as well, and things should be lining out for her, but she has a problem.
The problem is her upstairs neighbor, Charlotte Bancroft (Ally Sheedy), who tends to be noisy late at night and very early in the morning.
At first it appears things may work out - as Charlotte is ever so apologetic and understanding. Charlotte's understanding of Joyce's problem doesn't last long, however.
When Joyce goes up to Charlotte's apartment to discuss matters, Charlotte seems to be oblivious to the fact there is still a problem and just thinks she and Joyce should be pals.
Joyce decides to run a raunchy personal ad under Charlotte's name and phone number. Soon Charlotte has men galore in her apartment and is noisier than ever with the sexual escapades.
I was never able to figure out just how Joyce thought this was going to solve her problem all that much. If it had been me, I'd have been rather nervous at all these strange men coming in and out of the apartment building.
However, perhaps Joyce was more psychic than myself.
Meanwhile Joyce has taken to drinking, which really isn't helping things, and her job is going badly for her.
There is a scene between Charlotte and Joyce where Charlotte is extremely sadistic and domineering and Joyce just meekly allows it. I didn't understand that at all.
There is a conclusion to Charlotte and Joyce's problem, but the ending is somewhat non-conclusive otherwise.
There are other murky things that came up in regards to Joyce's past, and she becomes involved with a couple of men, but none of it ever really played any particular part in the main plot, and remained unexplained.