Noise

Marcelo Bertalmio's "Noise" has its amusing moments, but turns limp halfway through, only saving itself in the closing moments. Pic follows a luckless fellow saved from suicide who finds approbation with other eccentrics. Winner of the audience award at Valladolid in 2005, comedy will barely make a peep outside Latin America.

With:
With: Jorge Visca, Jorge Bazzano, Maiana Olazabal, Lucia Carlevari, Eva Santolaria, Josep Linuesa, Fermin Casado, Miquel Sitjar, Sebastian Pajoni, Gabriel Fernandez, Jorge Bolani, Sara Larocca, Hugo Bardillo, Jorge Temponi, Roberto Suarez.

Existing in a semi-surreal world of quirky characters operating on a skewed schedule, helmer Marcelo Bertalmio’s “Noise” has its amusing moments, but turns limp halfway through, only saving itself in the closing moments. In many ways akin to “After Hours,” with a parade of kooks living in a netherworld with no sense of daily rhythm, pic follows a luckless fellow saved from suicide who finds approbation with other eccentrics. Winner of the audience award at Valladolid in 2005, this genial but slight comedy will barely make a peep outside Latin America.

Social misfit Basilio (Jorge Visca) comes home one day to find his wife Carla (Eva Santolaria) has run off with the furniture, leaving just the pooch and a nasty note. Unloved at home and ridiculed at work, Basilio is about to end it all in a park, when a cell phone mislaid at his side rings; its exuberant owner Irene (Maiana Olazabal) decides to take him under her wing.

Irene introduces him to Mendez (Jorge Bazzano), a self-proclaimed city noise inspector whose gusto for patrolling the streets of Montevideo in search of violators is matched only by his garrulousness. With Irene’s encouragement Basilio agrees to work with Mendez.

Simultaneously entering Basilio’s life is Vera (Lucia Carlevari), a precocious 12-year-old whose doctor uncle purposely misdiagnoses people, telling them they have terminal cancer so they can re-evaluate their lives. She sets out to inform the patients they’re perfectly healthy, enlisting Basilio’s help after it’s discovered Carla was one of the people on her list.

Bertalmio cuts back and forth between these stories in an attempt to weave them all together, but their episodic nature can’t be disguised by simple editing. He successfully captures a dream-like hyper-realism, a fitting state in keeping with Basilio’s insomnia, but Irene’s character is poorly developed and most mysterious, while Mendez’s cartoonishness and fondness for malapropisms quickly gets stale.

Carlevari lacks the acting chops to carry her role, though Visca’s gawky physicality is a perfect match for Basilio’s painful lack of self-esteem. With his broad cranium and bushy hair overpowering his weak chin, he’s the image of a detail-oriented nerd.

Tech credits are standard, if unremarkable.

Noise

Uruguay-Spain-Argentina

Production: A Lavoragine Films, Guazu Media (Uruguay)/Zip Films (Spain)/Jorge Rocca (Argentina)/Cover 7 Produccions (Spain) production. (International sales: Cinemagroup, Buenos Aires.) Produced by Natacha Lopez. Executive producers, Jorge Rocca, Ivonne Ruocco, Norbert Llaras, Jordi Rediu, Toni Meca. Directed, written by Marcelo Bertalmio.

Crew: Camera (color), Daniel Machado; editor, Santiago Svirsky; music, Maximiliano Silveira; production designer, Ines Olmedo; costume designer, Angela Daruech; sound (Dolby Digital), Daniel Yafalian. Reviewed at Mar del Plata Film Festival (Latin America 21), March 14, 2006. (Also in Guadalajara Film Festital.) Running time: 94 MIN.

With: With: Jorge Visca, Jorge Bazzano, Maiana Olazabal, Lucia Carlevari, Eva Santolaria, Josep Linuesa, Fermin Casado, Miquel Sitjar, Sebastian Pajoni, Gabriel Fernandez, Jorge Bolani, Sara Larocca, Hugo Bardillo, Jorge Temponi, Roberto Suarez.

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