The Sound of Silence is about a science in which I completely believe. The theory is that certain sounds influence our emotions and certain noise is bad for us. I know this to be true because when I’m in loud places, or hear people making gratuitous mouth noises, it affects me adversely. Sounds can be toxic.
Peter Lucien (Peter Sarsgaard) is a home tuner. He’ll visit your home and find the appliance whose hum is causing your anxiety or depression. Ellen (Rashida Jones)’s case gets more complicated because she’s still feeling depressed even after replacing the toaster.
Your mileage may vary depending on how interested you are in the science but I’m very interested in the theory of which sounds combine to form toxic chords. My beef is everywhere I go they’re playing music I didn’t ask for.
If it’s not that it’s in a crowd when everyone tries to talk louder than everyone else in the room when if everybody would be quiet we could all hear our partner.
So Lucien’s methods are fascinating to me. He goes room by room, and when he’s exhausted Ellen’s home, he has to try her office. An office is overwhelming to him but it’s the other major environment for Ellen so it has to be done.
It’s a slow and methodical movie, reflecting Lucien, but I appreciate that pace. Lucien becomes a tragic character because this is all he has. So when it doesn’t provide the answer, he’s lost.
The sound design is effective, highlighting the tones of Lucien’s pitchforks or the appliances he discovers or the aspects of a scene he tunes in and out. Some old black and white newsreel footage provides some context to the history of Lucien’s science.
So I appreciate that The Sound Of Silence is not for everybody. That’s what makes Sundance so great. They give specific movies like The Sound Of Silence a place to thrive and be found by people like me.