There is no more frustrating sight than a movie that squanders a good idea with a lot of pretentious moodiness — which “The Sound of Silence” has in abundance.
The premise is fascinating: Peter Lucian (played by Peter Sarsgaard) is a professional “house tuner,” performing a sort of aural feng shui on New York apartments so that everything — the radiator, the fridge, and the ambient sound in the room itself — is striking a pleasant chord. This is the professional side of Peter’s other research, finding a universal constant in the sounds of New York itself.
One of Peter’s clients, Ellen (Rashida Jones), proves to be a tough case to crack. She complains of sleeplessness and irritability, and he thinks he’s tracked it to her old toaster, which plays a dissonant note. But when the toaster is replaced, Ellen’s problems remain. As he continues deeper into her issues, something resembling a romance starts — or it would, if this movie weren’t so wrapped up in its own obtuseness.
Director Michael Tyburski, co-writing with Ben Nabors, presents an intriguing notion of New York as a symphony, with each street and building a chord in the larger score. His lyrical depiction of that city is finely crafted, which makes it more of a shame when other things — like a subplot involving a high-tech company trying to steal Peter’s research — strike such sour notes.
‘The Sound of Silence’
Opened September 13 in select cities; opens Friday, September 27, at Megaplex Jordan Commons (Sandy), Megaplex at The District (South Jordan), and Megaplex Thanksgiving Point (Lehi). Not rated, bur probably PG-13 for thematic material and some language. Running time: 85 minutes.
This review ran on this site on January 31, when the movie premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.