November 15, 2012 -- I've seen a lot of detective stories, but never one about a detective trying to track down a bunch of performance artists who are playing illegal musical numbers. Not only that, but the detective is tone deaf and he is seeking a cure for his hatred of music at the same time as he is pursuing these illegal musicians.
This strange story is depicted in the imaginative Swedish film, “Sound of Noise.” Although it is basically a detective story, it also has strong elements of fantasy. The central character of the film is detective Amadeus Warnebring (played by Bengt Nilsson). He is tone deaf, and hates music, especially since his family, especially his famous conductor brother, are all noted musicians, and they are constantly in his face flaunting their musical expertise and fame. As a child, he was forced to play the piano, until it was obvious he had no musical talent.
Amadeus (named after you-know-who) first comes across a pair of guerilla musicians, Sanna (Sanna Persson) and Magnus (Magnus Börjeson) at a traffic crash. Police hear ticking inside a crashed van and think it may be a bomb. Amadeus, a terrorism investigator, is called in to check it out. Amadeus immediately recognizes the sound of a metronome from his days as a piano player. When it is discovered that there is no bomb, only a metronome, Amadeus is told to get off the case, but he can't. He is fascinated by it.
Through his investigation, Amadeus finds out that the music of Sanna and Magnus has a magical effect on him. Whatever they touch with their music, a person, or musical instrument or other object, silences that object for Amadeus. Sanna and Magnus recruit a group of drummers (reportedly played by real drummers) for their performance art composition titled “Music for One City and Six Drummers.” This movie, by the way, is an extension of a 2001 film by writer-directors Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson, called “Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers.”
“Music for One City and Six Drummers” has four movements. Amadeus picks up the trail again after the first movement in which the renegade musicians play music in a hospital. They use medical devices and pound on a man's chest to make their music, almost killing the man. After the attack, Amadeus can't hear the man when he speaks, and can't hear the noise a bed pan (used as a percussion instrument by the group) makes when he hits it against the wall. Other people are unaffected.
The next movements in the piece involve a bank music (called “Money 4 U Honey”), a street outside a concert hall and a power substation. These musical attacks result in shredding of money, property damage and power outages. Through it all, Amadeus finds himself attracted to the visionary leader of the group, Sanna. He also comes up with an idea “that will change the world” he declares. Amadeus, who hates music, composes his own music in order to be free of music.
This very imaginative dark comedy is full of delicious, subversive humor. Just as Amadeus did, I developed a grudging respect for these strange, renegade, guerilla musicians. They do what artists sometimes do -- attack the artistic establishment. The city is contaminated by bad music, Sanna proclaims, “It's time to strike back. We'll give this city a concert it will never forget.” If you see this movie, you won't forget it, or the concert in four movements. It rates a B+.
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.