Noah Baumbach enters uncharted territory with White Noise

Noah Baumbach enters uncharted territory with White Noise
Noah Baumbach enters uncharted territory with White Noise
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This, on the whole, is the problem of White Noise, the feeling that there is something in DeLillo’s work that Baumbach cannot decipher. The themes of the story – the fear of death, the atomization of society at the dawn of the information age – are clearly delineated, but what is lacking is passion. The film is respectful and respectable … far too much; it is difficult to locate the Why of the film version of White Noise. Despite some modifications, it appears to exist more as a recited reproduction of the book than as its original projection.

It is the trap into which literary adaptations often risk falling, especially those made by directors deeply involved in the original material. White Noise it is a clear homage to DeLillo’s text, now almost forty years old, which struggles to connect the philosophy and dilemmas of the time with our palpable present. From time to time they appear in the film about strange escapes: a moment of mortal terror shared between husband and wife, a sigh of appreciation from the parents for their precocious and mature child, a sense of bewilderment for something terrible looming on the horizon. .

But these brief emotional outbursts aren’t enough to sustain the film. Much more in White Noise it is strangely cold, or barely warm. Baumbach avoids extremes, even when his characters shoot guns or find themselves stuck in a station wagon floating on a river. We do not perceive the sense of intimacy and transport they had given to Story of a wedding that feeling of labor, a The squid and the whale its acid effervescence ea Frances Ha such a delicate form.

Perhaps White Noise it is simply dated and that is all his reflection on American life and culture before the Internet, 9/11 and everything else. The script, largely transposed from the novel, doesn’t help. The cast, which also includes Don Cheadle as an Elvis obsessed professor e Lars Eidinger in those of a confused drug dealer, he struggles to scroll through the lines, but often fails. There is a contrived essence in White Noise, which can be well identified when he tries to parody the atmosphere and the charms of academic vanity. But precisely this register limits the characters to the most intimate passages of the film. It probably would have been better to leave everything on the written page.

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Who seems to be able to overcome the narrow confines of the film is Driver, who gives us a haughty and sweet Jack, sometimes shrewd but most of the time indifferent. Affable and annoying, a wanderer who crosses the turn of the millennium fighting against the inevitable that looms over him. There is a touching respectability in the interpretation of him, capable of giving depth to a character that otherwise could have easily been just a simple caricature. We would be talking about anything else if Baumbach had managed to harness that raw energy and apply it to the rest of the film, which so often needs the pain and awe that Driver so skillfully embodies. It is through him that White Noise it comes closest to a message, to a rough portrait of a humanity in the making that sees impotence re-proposed as something that resembles freedom.

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The article is in Italian

Tags: Noah Baumbach enters uncharted territory White Noise

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