White Noise review: gritty, weird, and disappointing

“White Noise is a bold but ultimately lifeless attempt by writer-director Noah Baumbach to bring Don DeLillo’s much-loved 1985 novel to life.”


  • Noah Baumbach’s versatile visual style

  • Adam Driver’s fully dedicated leading performance

  • Danny Elfman’s remarkable music


  • Noah Baumbach’s fragmented, tonally inconsistent script

  • Several single-note supporting performances

  • a lifeless result

White NoiseWriter-director Noah Baumbach’s new Netflix movie is an aggressively bizarre, fragmented drama. At times, the movie intentionally feels so artificial and satirical that it’s more like Robert Downey Sr. Other times, the movie is so colorful and visually stunning that it looks more like this: Extraterrestrial ET more than you say, Putney Swope.

The movie, in other words, is ambitious and when it comes to adaptations, White Noise as bold and unrepentantly awkward as can be. there is something admirable White NoiseIn fact, its overwhelming weirdness and way of completely refusing to even claim to exist in a world that looks like or feels like ours. The audacity of Baumbach’s execution, however, White Noise it actually works. Ultimately, film feels more like an admirably creative exercise in the art of adaptation than a cohesive or compelling filmmaking.

Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle are standing together at a grocery store in White Noise.
Wilson Webb/Netflix

Based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Don DeLillo. White Noise It follows Jack Gladney (Adam Driver), a university professor who became famous for his Hitler Studies program, as well as his wife Babette (Greta Gerwig) and their four children. The first 25 minutes of the movie are mostly completely edited. During the opening act, Baumbach’s latest film introduces viewers not only to the Gladneys, but also to the extraordinary version of 1980s America the film is set in – a place where almost everyone speaks in an artificial rhythm and in an obnoxious, overly formal way. a style of speech that can usually only be heard in the most indifferent and smug college social circles.

To his credit, Baumbach leans completely into the unnatural behavior and speech patterns of his characters. In doing so, it can continuously raise White NoiseIt’s satirical throughout its 136-minute runtime, but it also ensures that the Gladneys never feel like real people, either. Instead, the characters are purely vessels for Baumbach and DeLillo’s ideas, creating an inherently emotional separation. White Noise feeling strangely flat. coming from 2019 marriage storyWhat stands as Baumbach’s most candid and emotionally resonant film to date is undeniably shocking to see him return to filmmaking with such a deliberate and cold effort.

I mean, White Noise It certainly ranks as one of the most emotionally lifeless films of Baumbach’s career, its story allowing him to flex his muscles as a director in ways never before allowed. There are even such real, Spielbergian wonderful moments scattered throughout. White Noise It’s hard not to leave the movie wishing that Baumbach and cinematographer Lol Crawley had teamed up to work on a simpler sci-fi adventure rather than the satirical American interpretation they actually made.

Adam Driver is sitting in a car in the Netflix series White Noise.
Wilson Webb/Netflix

Baumbach’s visual prowess is most evident throughout the film. White Noiseact two that revolves entirely around an event from DeLillo’s novel known as “The Toxic Event in the Air.” After a nearby truck full of flammable materials collides with a train car carrying deadly chemicals, the Gladneys and their neighbors are forced to flee from a spiraling dark cloud that begins to hover over them and their town. Baumbach shoots behind the camera White Noise‘s midpoint evacuation scenes have a kind of energy and slick style he’s never used in his previous films.

Baumbach fills White NoiseThe Toxic Incident sequence in the Air has a level of underlying horror and suspense not present in the rest of the film. This is especially true for a dangerous late-night stop at a gas station, which Baumbach so masterfully shot, which will have you asking why he’s never tried making a full-fledged sci-fi movie before. It is also in these moments that Danny Elfman’s magnificent composition as always is allowed to take center stage and shine brightest.

Unfortunately, White Noise He only spends a certain amount of time at the Airborne Toxic Event before allowing Jack and Babette to return to their normal lives for the final act of the movie. White Noise, in turn, reverts to the same level of emotional separation during the last third that previously dominated the opening act. The film makes room in this episode for both Babette and Jack to endlessly ponder their shared fears of death, but White Noise it never sufficiently removes its own artificial layers in these scenes. As a result, Babette and Jack’s fears and worries never feel like real or real feelings. Instead, they come across more bullet-like dots in the list of ideas. White Noise He is so determined to find out.

White Noise | Official Trailer | Netflix

The film’s introverted, satirical approach puts many of its talented stars in complete stalemate. Only Driver, of his own sheer will, can instill anything resembling true humanity into his character. White Noise He is too confident to let any of his other actors achieve anything similar. In the end, the movie finally seems overjoyed to spend its time swimming in the shallow end of its artificial world, a problem that no amount of technical showmanship can solve.

White Noise currently streaming on Netflix.

Editors’ Suggestions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *