Saturday, September 14, 2019

Investigating ambient sounds while creating some ravishing visuals: Michael Tyburski and Ben Nabors' THE SOUND OF SILENCE

I think a warning is in order here: If you insist on your movies being tidy and never open-ended, then perhaps move on to your next film of interest. THE SOUND OF SILENCE, a new American independent from co-writer (with Ben Nabors) and director Michael Tyburski is so small, quiet (even in its loud-sound moments) and unassuming that many folk will probably pass it right by. For those of us, however, who want something different that can engage our minds -- and even, dare I say it, our souls -- this oddball little movie is quite something else.

Misters Tyburski (shown at right) and Nabors have contrived a tale of a fellow named Peter (played by the inestimable Peter Sarsgaard, on poster above and in the final two photos, below) who is enamored of sounds -- together with the ways in which they form patterns that help contain and/or control our lives. He makes his living helping folk in need. In fact, he is, as his invoice puts it, a "house tuner" who discovers what, in various apartments and homes, is amiss and depriving his clients of sleep, energy, or general well-being.

Peter has been so successful, in fact, that no less than The New Yorker has profiled the guy. Yet regarding his latest client, Ellen Chasen (Rashida Jones, two photos down, giving another of her lovely, understated performances), something has gone amiss, and Peter seems unable to help her much.

Along with all this comes our protagonist's own need for some kind of acceptance from his peers and the scientific community; instead, it is only the marketing community that seems keen on using him and his work.

As Peter negotiates everything from a very personal kind of industrial espionage to his relationship with Ellen, the movie moves slowly yet entrancingly along, as viewers become immersed in this fellow's world of sound -- and the filmmaker's world of visuals which, it seems to TrustMovies, echoes in its own way that special sound experience.

Tyburski and his cinematographer (Eric Lin) show us a universe of patterns of every sort, in the design of both architecture and nature, and these take us with Peter on his journey, while consistently giving us something unusual, beautiful and a just a bit confounding to view as we listen.

Fuss has been made about the film's refusal to guide us definitely toward an understanding of things -- of whether Peter is brilliant or simply befuddled, whether his ideas are right or wrong, whether he and Ellen will get together, whether his scientific peers are on base or off, whether or not that marketing concern has ripped him off. So what?

If everything's up in the air, still, it surely does sound good -- and look even better. The fine supporting cast includes the likes of Austin Pendleton and Tony Revolori, both of whom add their own special, on-the-nose talents to this unusual mix.

From IFC Films and running just 87 minutes, the movie opened this past Friday, September 13, in New York City at the IFC Center and in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Royal. Simultaneously it will be available nationwide via VOD.

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