White Noise Review
This film marks the return to the big screen for Michael Keaton. Believe it or not it has been seven years since his last major film, Jack Frost. It also marks the transition from television to cinema for director Geoffrey Sax. This begs a number of questions. Has Keaton chose the right film in order to make a comeback? Has Sax been able to pull off a major film release? Let's find out!
Jonathan Rivers (Keaton) and his wife Anna (Chandra West) have a seemingly perfect life. Jonathan is a successful architect working for a large company and Anna an equally successful author. They live in a large beautifully furnished house, have a young son and appear to have no worries. One morning greets the couple with the news that they are to be parents. Unfortunately, this day soon tales off to tragedy as Anna does not return home after a night out. Stricken with worry, Rivers discovers, in the early hours, that his wife has been involved in a car accident. It is feared that her body has been washed out to sea.Three weeks go by without news. Rivers spots a stranger spying on him and confronts him. Raymond Price (Ian McNiece) hits him with claims that he has been receiving messages from his dead wife. Price proceeds to introduce him to the element of the paranormal world that is EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomenon. Price shows him evidence that white noise recordings have allowed him to pick up messages sent from the other side of life. For anyone interested, or those who don't already know, white noise is any noise that is produced by combining sounds of differing frequencies together, (i.e. the drone sound of a fan, the sound of 1000 people talking at once or, as used predominantly in this movie, the static noise used heard between TV and radio stations).
Rivers soon learns that not all the voices heard are friendly and soon Price falls victim to an unexplained incident that destroys most of his work. Undeterred, Rivers, along with a client of Price, Sarah (Deborah Unger), seeks to continue this work in the hope of making further contact with his deceased wife and the other side. He sets up recording equipment at his house and becomes obsessed with exploring these beyond-the-grave messages. He soon believes that his dead wife is trying to guide him into helping others and sets about deciphering the recordings. He is warned by a psychic not to dabble but goes against her advice. The film climaxes as he follows his wife's messages and suggestions to an eerie and tension filled conclusion.
White Noise proved to be a worthy film of its genre. The genre of the supernatural thriller has certainly become very popular lately. The likes of the works of M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs, The Village) and Robert Zemeckis (What Lies Beneath) have increased the publics demand and appreciation of this type of movie. Does White Noise compete with these quality films? Well yes and no. It is a good film. I did enjoy it, but I did feel there was a lot missing. Characters were not explored enough. This was especially true with Keaton's character. Keaton's ability to bring out all manners of his personality to allow him to play very different roles was never really used to its potential. This was in no part his fault as an actor but more the lack of an involving script and a naivety of direction. We never really get to see the pain, the anguish, the psychological torment that the character 'should' be going through after a loss and this is a real shame as it's these traits that Keaton is very adept at portraying. Whilst we as an audience should be able to relate and feel something for his situation, after all he has lost a wife, an unborn child and an idyllic family life, instead we just don't really care. There is also the lack of a 'twist' at the end. The other previously mentioned masterpieces of suspense and terror all ended with a blinding surprise at the end that wrapped up the loose ends and left you feeling content. Unfortunately, I was left wandering where the rest of the film was?! There were a number of holes that were not filled in. There was no explanation to a number of questions posed throughout the film. Sometimes this is acceptable, especially when dealing with a subject matter that is exploring the unknown, but there were far too many unanswered plotlines. I won't pose the questions here as they will spoil the film.