IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF SOUND OF VIOLENCE!
Being part of this year’s selection of the SXSW Film Festival, Sound of Violence is set in the life of Alexis, who was born deaf, but recovered her hearing when her family was murdered. Growing up and starting teaching at her university, Alexis begins to develop synesthetic abilities after that tremendously gruesome event. When capturing new sounds, the young woman starts to develop a taste for human torturing noises, which seem to awake a drug-like experience in her mind and body. Addicted to this, Alexis begins her journey kidnapping and killing people to obtain their sounding essence and create one final musical masterpiece.
Sound of Violence is the first feature film from Alex Noyer, adapted from a short film he directed in 2018 starring Logan Paul, called Conductor. This is a curious thriller, with lots of gore scenes that will make you shiver with disgust. Like a sound-based Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Sound of Violence gives Alexis the same treatment as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in the novel (and the 2006 film), exploring the insanity driven by this thrist for obtaining perfection through the demise of other human beings. Love is the final note for Alexis, who sees her longtime companion and love interest Marie, walking down a beach with speakers attached to her body. It’s the intensity that fulfills this uncontrollable desire which ultimately awakes this psychotic behavior from Alexis. Sound of Violence stars Jasmin Savoy Brown (who was masterful in HBO‘s The Leftovers), Lili Simmons and James Jagger. Although none of the latter are equally balanced throughout the film as Savoy Brown, they are instrumental for the main character to achieve her goals.
Despite having some very cool scenes, Sound of Violence has some issues with the credibility of some of them. They defy a certain type of logic, for example, Alexis’ downfall into madness makes her control a harpist through some weird chemicals she puts on the musician’s drink, and activates a remote controlled mecanism in the harp to make the music player cut her fingers non-stop and almost bleed to death until she snaps out of the trance. It seems a bit too forfeit since we only know about Alexis’ hearing problem and not have a full scope of her rise to become a serial killer mastermind. What feels like a condition, quickly becomes an art for her, with all these mechanisms she develops to torture her victims. Even if we close our eyes to some of the not-too-credible sequences, we can’t shake this feeling that Sound of Violence tries too hard to be more gratuitous than to make the viewer sympathetic to the main character, taking a step back in exploring the psyche of its deranged lead.
Jasmin Savoy Brown is magnificent and has such a bright future ahead of her. She easily embodies the interesting parts of Alexis and makes her a character with some depth and, at the very least, enjoyable throughout the film. Sound of Violence tries to adapt Perfume by changing smell to sound and upgrades on the bloodfest the public sure is expecting from it. But it’s a very flawed thriller, unable to fulfill its ambitions and deliver something fresh to the audience. Enjoyable nonetheless, but not memorable, Sound of Violence achieves entertainment by trying, but is unable to rise up because is more focused on the violence than in the characters.
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Title: Sound of Violence
Director: Alex Noyer
Duration: 95 min.