“White Noise” dramatizes a contemporary American family's attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world.
The movie premiered at Venice yesterday and Elfman's score is getting good notices.
The feeling remains that Baumbach is more in command with character-driven material than with this kind of accelerated absurdist plotting, which works to the extent it does in part thanks to Danny Elfman’s dark funhouse score, an exuberant return to vintage form.
But it moves with purpose from the get-go as composer Danny Elfman’s Coplandesque strains herald a new school year coming to life for Jack, a protective husband/father in a bustling family with kind, attentive fitness instructor Babette (a crispy-permed Greta Gerwig) and their hyperaware brood: contrarian know-it-all adolescent Heinrich (Sam Nivola); observant tweener and eating-health monitor Denise (Raffey Cassidy); and littler ones Steffie (May Nivola) and Wilder (Jodie Turner-Smith).
If one awards-season prospect leaps out at this early stage, it would be for Jess Gonchor’s tasty popsicle-hued production design, followed closely by Danny Elfman’s nuanced score, which channels the modern classicism of John Adams, but adds a note of irony to the gravitas.
Sounds like it's a bigger and more prominent score than most movies get now, but it's kind of odd how one reviewer compares the score to Aaron Copeland while another compares it to John Adams. I've been tired of minimalism in film music for a very long time now, so for my taste I would vastly prefer more of the former than the latter.
The 45 minute score album is now out in any country where it is already Friday
1. Waves and Radiation (1:22) 2. Me First (2:05) 3. Duel Lecture (4:59) 4. Airborne Toxic Event (0:31) 5. Toxic Chemicals (1:00) 6. Chew Gum or Smoke (1:32) 7. We’re Late (1:03) 8. Highway Disaster (1:06) 9. Up There (2:09) 10. Teddy Bear (1:51) 11. Panic (1:07) 12. Terribly Sad Moment (4:39) 13. Trash (3:34) 14. Bad Dream (2:16) 15. Lost in the Kitchen (1:14) 16. Finding Mink (3:02) 17. You Shot You (1:45) 18. Sunrise (2:43) 19. Wrap Up (0:55) 20. Nebulous Mass (2:32) 21. The Cloud Is Coming – Dean Wareham & Britta Phillips (4:02)
This was a big anti-climax for me, I'm afraid. Based on references to Tangerine Dream that Baumbach himself mentioned in interviews, I was expecting -- and hoping -- for a score in the vein of WISDOM or at the very least THE CIRCLE. Something purely electronic, loads of sequencers etc. It certainly isn't. While there are electronics here, they're used far more discretely, as colouring. And the rest of the score -- as it is -- sits in an OK, straightforward orchestral-minimalist style instead. So the disappointment I felt in that it wasn't in the idiom I expected, will have to subside until I can hopefully enjoy it for what it is.
I finally got to listen to this! And I quite loved it. Classic Elfman all the way through and touches on so many genres that he has mastered: Sci-Fi, Drama, Offbeat Comedy. You can hear them all here. I was pleasantly surprised by the bits of theremin, as I had no expectation of what this would sound like.
I'm really curious whatever interview with director Baumbach which Thor mentioned. I'm actually insanely thankful this isn't another Tangerine Dream wannabe, as there are already enough hack artists doing that today so thank heavens Elfman can be himself.