Combining a police procedural with a musical comedy, the Swedish film Sound of Silence brings a comedic and thought provoking take to the crime caper genre. It’s a film that reveres the art of music, while simultaneously criticizing it, and although the final act becomes a bit muddled, it’s still an easy recommendation for any music lover.
On the surface, Sound of Noise is about a group of rogue percussionists, who set out to make the ultimate flash-mob-esque street music, and the police detective charged with bringing them to justice. The film follows Sanna (Sanna Persson), the quasi-leader of the musicians, and Amadeus (Bengt Nilsson), the tone-deaf detective who’s desperately trying to track the group down.
Sound of Noise plays out like a typical cop flick, except instead of watching heists or murders, we see quirky musical interludes, followed by Amadeus investigating the crime scene and piecing together clues. It’s in these interludes that the film is at it’s best. The musical numbers are entertaining, comedic, and ingenious. Who would have thought playing a fat guy’s gut like bongos would produce such a great rhythm?
But this isn’t just a cops and robbers story. It’s a statement on the rigidity and confinement of traditional music, and a call to arms for those musicians willing to experiment, and attempt something new. It has that “Music is all around us, we just need to listen,” vibe going for it. This is most apparent when looking at the relationship between Amadeus and his family. He comes from a family of musicians, and his younger brother is a famous composer, however Amadeus never had an interest in music and is tone deaf. This leads to some of the film’s more existential moments, which unfortunately didn’t really work.
In addition to these almost supernatural elements, it becomes clear within the first act of the film that there would be an inevitable love story between Sanna and Amadeus. This was not problematic to the plot, but it felt slightly tacked on by the end. In a film that has so many other things happening, it seems like adding a love story at the climax is just unnecessary.
With clever music, and a nice blend of comedy and heart, you’ll find yourself smiling and tapping your toes throughout most of the movie. While it may not move you like a Haydn symphony, this is still an entertaining film, and is a must-see for any music aficionado.