Anyone who has met me can tell you that I love horror movies, but anyone who claims to really know me should know that I LOVE dark comedies. White Noise nails both genres with ease. Noah Baumbach writes and directs the adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name. Conversations of death and true love are discussed as a disastrous event strikes a small town. Our characters must confront their thoughts on death and who is left behind. The story is brought to life by actors Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver, with Don Cheadle in a supporting role. Cheadle, for me, can do no wrong. He brings such an oddly charismatic and kind air to his character, making him stand out again. However, he can also conjure more severe tones and infuses them into those characteristics. One scene, in particular, stands out for me, but we will get back to that later. Now, let the end begin.
Our setting is a typical American small town in the 80s. One household holds claim to Jack (Driver), his 4th wife Babette (Gerwig), and their four children of varying ages. Raffey Cassidy is a total scene stealer as their eldest daughter Denise. They fill their days with mundane conversations and monotonous daily activities. That is until a massive amount of toxic chemicals explodes outside of town. Plumes of black clouds take over the city, and the family is thrust straight into chaos. Fears and dreams must be confronted in the aftermath that will change their lives. Trust me that is just barely scratching the surface.
How do you feel when you think about death? Do you find it to be beautiful? Or does it scare you? Do you think about those you leave? Those are the questions I was left asking myself, but not in a scary and offputting way. More just an afterthought of the film. But they are exciting themes to ponder. If they want to make it out unscathed, Babette and Jack must conquer their own thoughts on the subject. So many of their discussions focus not on what happens after death but on who is left to grieve them. Cheadle’s character has an imposing scene detailing that exact nightmare. It is one that I felt very personally.
This film really worked for me. It blends comedic ideas into serious situations in a way that never compromises the dramatic elements of the scene. Don’t get me started on the small yet effective horror sequences. One nightmare, in particular, had me questioning the genre description. I would love to see Baumbach take on a horror film. I would be interested to see what he would add to the “new-age” horror movement. I give this film the highest rating. I would suggest a viewing in the theater before its Netflix release on December 30th. Please have a great day. Do something exciting!