Noah Baumbach’s ‘White Noise’ starring Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, and Don Cheadle is now available on Netflix. The film is based on the same-named book by Don DeLillo. Baumbach created a hilarious and topical comedy that is crazily strange and somewhat emotional, with a distinct aesthetic and nostalgic 80s images. A daring and one-of-a-kind funny endeavor.
In 1984, Jack Gladney (Adam Driver), a founder of “Hitler studies,” teaches at College-on-the-Hill. Despite his specialization, he speaks little German and is covertly taking rudimentary lessons for a conference address. His fourth wife is Babette (Greta Gerwig). They have four children: Heinrich (Sam Nivola), Steffie (May Nivola), Denise (Raffey Cassidy), and Wilder. Denise discovers Babette’s hidden Dylar stockpile. After discussing death with Babette, Jack dreams of a strange guy trying to murder him. Murray Siskind (Don Cheadle), an American culture professor, urges Jack to help him create “Elvis studies,” a comparable specialized area. As courses compete, they momentarily compete.
However, a train accident spews toxic pollution over the town, disrupting their lives. This “Airborne Toxic Event” causes a large evacuation and interstate traffic gridlock. Jack is exposed to the cloud while filling up at a petrol station. Summer camp quarantines the family and others. Murray gives Jack a palm-sized revolver to defend himself from the camp’s more deadly survivalists. Families desperately flee the camp, causing havoc. The Gladneys almost escape, but their automobile floats in the river. The family leaves camp after nine days. Since Jack was temporarily exposed to toxic waste, his fear of death increased.
Later, Babette is pale and aloof from Jack. Jack then starts seeing a weird figure following him. Jack confronts Babette and Denise discusses Dylar. She says she entered mysterious scientific research for a death anxiety medicine in return for sex with “Mr. Gray”. Jack requests the Dylar bottle, but Denise says she threw it away earlier. Jack sees a Dylar newspaper ad in the garbage, leading him to collect his revolver and avenge Mr. Gray. Jack finds him at a motel and realizes Mr. Gray was his delusion. Jack shoots him and holds the pistol to make it appear like a suicide. Babette surprises Mr. Gray, who shoots them both. Jack takes the three to a German atheist nun-run hospital to recover and reunite. The film concludes with the Gladneys shopping in an A&P supermarket, where the family does a music video-style dance.
Film Verdict: (07/10)
Review: Arun Venugopal
White Noise is now streaming on Netflix.