“White Noise”


Rotten Tomatoes (+), Letterboxd (0.5/5), Imdb.com (1/10)

Well, I’ll give writer-director Noah Baumbach credit for one thing – the title accurately describes the character of this stupendously terrible film. This absolute mess of a movie is astonishingly bad, even by misfire standards. I lost interest about 20 minutes in and never got it back, primarily because I couldn’t figure out what the hell was supposed to be going on (a problem that lingered for the duration of the picture, unfortunately). Its mix of pseudointellectual, condescending dialogue, miserably failed attempts at both smart and screwball humor, less-than-subtle symbolism as an allegory for the COVID pandemic, and utter inability to engage viewers in a story that struggles to fuse comedy, drama, sci-fi, mystery, horror and a meditation on life’s big questions is mind-bendingly awful. In many ways, it tries to come across as 2022’s answer to “Don’t Look Up” (2021) but fails stunningly at capturing the incisive, biting satire and breakneck pacing of that fine offering. And what’s with the ridiculous, overlong supermarket music video that plays over the closing credits? What’s that all about? While I must admit that I have not read the 1985 novel that served as the source material for this work, and having heard that it’s supposedly quite faithful to the book, I can honestly say I’m glad I’ve never wasted my time on that, either. Indeed, I truly wish I could say something positive about this cinematic tripe, but there’s nothing to compliment, a statement I almost never make about anything I watch. I especially feel sorry for the cast that got stuck in this trainwreck, especially Adam Driver, who, despite his Golden Globe nomination for this performance, really needs to start picking better scripts. But, then, after seeing this, I could just as readily say the same thing about the filmmaker, who needs to forget this project, walk away from it and look to get his career back on track.