Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Movie with Abe: The Ultimate Playlist of Noise

The Ultimate Playlist of Noise
Directed by Bennett Lasseter
Released January 15, 2021 (Hulu)

When someone knows that they have a limited time left to do something, they tend to want to spend as much time as possible doing it. The notion of indulging plentifully in an experience before it disappears or can no longer be accessed makes sense, since those memories and feelings will serve as an enduring reminder to be referenced in the future. It can’t replace the absence, but may serve as a comfort and the only thing a person can really do in the face of something they can’t control or prevent, no matter how hard they try.

Marcus (Keean Johnson) is a high school senior who loves music. When he learns that he has a condition that will force him to have brain surgery that will leave him without his hearing, he sets out to create the definitive collection of noise, assembling samples of all the sounds that he knows he’ll no longer be able to hear. Along the way, he meets and is amazed by Wendy (Madeline Brewer), a musician who is trying to escape her own messay situation and make it to New York. Their road trip provides the opportunity to encounter a wide array of sounds and a transformative sample of what’s out there in the world.

This film’s premise has some similarities to “Sound of Metal,” a far melancholier story of a drummer losing his hearing. This could be considered the less gruff version, one that’s much more family-friendly even if some of the experiences that Marcus has aren’t completely wholesome. In addition to his impending deafness, he feels a sense of longing for his older brother who died but left a strong impression on him. He is immediately attracted to Wendy but the relationship is more about interacting with their audial surroundings than developing a true romantic connection.

Johnson has a very likeable demeanor that makes him an endearing protagonist, someone with a sense of what he wants and a great curiosity about the world that has yet to be fulfilled because of how much he just doesn’t know. Brewer plays a far gentler character than the one most might know her from on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and she makes Wendy appropriately alluring while keeping her three-dimensional and complex. This film has a wonderful spirit of adventure and exploration, one that fuels it as Marcus prepares for an unthinkable future made much more bearable by the excitement of all he can internalize before that happens.


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