Monday, 27 August 2012

Ber-Ber-Ber, Berberian Sound Studio

Toby Jones goes to Italy to work on the sound effects of a cheap horror film. Toby Jones doesn't really like the cheap horror film. Toby Jones spends so much time on the film he gets confused about what's real and what's not. Toby Jones loses his marbles. Toby Jones sprouts sixteen legs and an extra head, turns himself inside out and recites the Gettysburg Address over and over again to a crowd of crabs all wearing boxing gloves.

If I'm being honest, not all of those things happen in Berberian Sound Studio, but they might as well have done. Peter Strickland's arthouse pondering over the effect of film on an audience, and particularly their complicity in the creation of onscreen violence, is two thirds unsettling monotony and one third all-out Lynchian weirdery. As a whole it's an atmospheric and unnerving mood piece, but its themes are buried beneath layers of wilfully obscure, audience-dividing mentalism that will either win you over or turn you off completely.

Crammed with period detail and with an understated but typically fantastic performance from ToJo, the film is a joy to look at, and its sound design is necessarily inspired; as its subject matter demands, it's more of a sensory experience than an easily-digestible story. If that's your bag, knock yourself out. Everyone else, Total Recall is also out this week and whichever you choose, I make no judgement upon you.

1 comment :

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the intro of this post and I must admit, the film would have likely fared better with your plot. It certainly wouldn't be monotonous.