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Baumbach returns to the charge

background noise dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to grapple with the universal mysteries of love, death, and happiness while grappling with the mundane conflicts of everyday life. The film opens in theaters this Friday, December 9th, and will then be released on December 30th on Netflix.

background noise is what could be considered a very ambitious product. The director and screenwriter Noah Baumbach has made a film out of a novel, Don DeLillo’s 1985 literary prize, which many have considered “unadaptable”. And it seems that this opinion was not very misguided, since background noise is a film adaptation that feels strange and disconcerting from its inception. This apocalyptic black comedy addresses the absurdity and horror that permeates American society todaybut the fact that a story excels at several important points does not mean that it is round.

background noise we are introduced by Jack Gladneyplayed by Adam Driver, an expert professor on Hitler’s life who is a father of four from a variety of previous marriages along with his current wife, Babette, played by Greta Gerwig, a neurotic who takes pills and teaches yoga to the elderly. Their daily routine is interrupted when a train carrying a load of chemical waste derails, setting off a chain of events that sends everyone spiraling out of control.

Watch BACKGROUND NOISE on NETFLIX (starting December 30)

A story with an uneven narrative and an unnatural pace

background noise
Netflix Spain

background noise it involves an apocalyptic, absurd story -not because it is, but because the film wants you to feel that it is- and alarming, set within the everyday confines of a family’s monotonous life. The themes discussed in the story are philosophicaleven when trying to generate comedy through them, especially during the conversations between Jack and his partner Murray Siskind, played by Don Cheadle. We can distinguish observations about uncontrolled consumerism, religion, self-medication, conspiracies, the rise of human-caused environmental disasters, and the fear of looming death..

The story can be perfectly divided into three parts almost distinct: a part of science fictiona part of black comedy and another part of family drama. The narrative is uneven and does not flow with a natural rhythmcreating a shaky foundation that is combined with the witty intellectualism of the subjects covered and condescending dialogue, trademark of Baumbach’s house, that often feels out of place, resulting in a tape with a message absorbed in itself, more than is usual in this type of film. As for the direction, it shows with confidence multiple styles and tones to create an ambitious farce. Through Gladney and his family trying to escape the disaster, too experience with action, suspense and terror.


what did i just see

background noise
Netflix Spain

The best -and perhaps the most remarkable- of background noise is Adam Driver’s performance, which once again demonstrates to us his incredible capacity and talent for acting. We could call Baumbach a director of actors and Driver his fetish actor. The actor brings a natural vulnerability to his performance that correlates with the central theme, even when the subject focuses squarely on Gerwig. And it is that this Baumbach script is far from being the best, since completely wastes Greta Gerwig’s character. Gerwig’s Babbette does not noticeably have enough presence – despite having many minutes on screen – for the viewer to invest a minimum of their attention in her plight when the narrative revolves around her. Much of the story hinges on Jack and Babbette’s relationship, and the character feels washed out by it..

Noah Baumbach has shown us that he can tell compelling and uniquely human stories about the obstacles of adulthoodwhere viewers can feel identified with ease, like he did with ‘Marriage Story’. However, the existentialist themes expressed through dialogue a background noiseas if the characters were philosophers, it results in them all speaking in a frustrating way for the viewer that inevitably feels pretentious. When a screenwriter needs to use dialogue so often to try to show us the importance of his message, it usually means he’s making up for a lack of story. background noise it deals with very important issues but, although it insists a lot throughout the film, it cannot prevent the viewer from asking: What did I just see?

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