The Noise of Engines | Le Bruit des Moteurs (2021) San Sebastian Film Festival

September 19th, 2021
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Philippe Grégoire; Cast: Robert Naylor, Tanja Björk, Marie-Therese Forline, Naila Robel, Alexandrine Agostini; Canada 2021, 90 min.

The bizarre debut feature of Canadian writer/director Philippe Grégoire is too clever by half, hurtling into cul-de-sacs, before petering out with a limp. There are some interesting moments, but overall The Noise is simply too pretentious and immature.

Gregoire kicks off in semi-documentary style with a group of Canadian customs officers being introduced by Alexandre Mastrogiuseppe (Naylor) to the use of firearms. Later Alex has sex with Laura (Rabel), one of the the trainees – all rather awkward as her efforts to wear a mask bring on an asthma attack, Alexandre coming to the rescue. He is nevertheless suspended from work by the strange unit chief (Agostini) who admits she is in an open marriage while she claws the underside her desk in frustration, enviously alluding to his multiple sexual escapades. Alexandre is then sent home to his mother (Forline), who owns a race course in a small town.

On the race course Alexandre is accosted by two police officers who accuse him of sticking an obscene drawing on the church door. Next he embarks on a treasure hunt instigated by Icelandic racing driver  Adalbjörg (Björg) a big fan of filmmaker Andre Forcier, the two eventually fetching up in a deserted backwater. The two policemen appear again, burning Alexandre’s hands on the hot plates of an oven, and other unspeakable parts of his body. Needless to say, things go from bad to worse for Alexandre who embarks on a journey to discover the holy grail of drag racing

Essentially The Noise is a series of disconnected episodes where everything feels unnatural, performed by an unexceptional cast, Shawn Pavlin’s images are as anaemic as the whole undertaking. So not a strong  debut for Gregoire despite some interesting ideas. AS

San Sebastian FILM FESTIVAL 2021 | 17 – 27 SEPTEMBER 2021

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