The directors of the delightful 2001 short film “Music for One Apartment and Six Drummers,” which showcases the noncutesy melodic possibilities of squeak toys, toothbrushes and vacuum cleaners, successfully build upon the premise in “Sound of Noise.”
Spoofing police procedurals while bowing deeply to John Cage, the cheeky Swedish feature pits a music-loathing yet sympathetic detective against a group of anarchist percussionists. In lesser hands the mash-up might be nothing more than an act of cinematic contortion. But filmmakers Ola Simonsson and Johannes Stjärne Nilsson and their engaging cast pull off the feat with no strain and a surprising amount of heart.
At the center of the simple story (written by Simonsson and Jim Birmant) is tone-deaf anti-terrorist cop Amadeus (Bengt Nilsson), who, in a cruel twist of fate, is the sibling of a famous conductor. The ticking bomb that introduces Amadeus to the case of the guerrilla drummers turns out to be a metronome, much to his profound dismay.
That puts him on the trail of conceptual composer Magnus (Magnus Börjeson), academy reject Sanna (Sanna Persson Halapi) and their band of outsiders. In four locations, the most far-fetched being a hospital, they’re staging “Music for One City and Six Drummers,” the ultimate expression of their manifesto against musical mediocrity.
Without pounding home its avant-garde cred, this fresh ode to found sound and the music of silence casts an amused gaze at careerism, classical-music reverence and notions of artistic purity and ends with a pitch-perfect change of tune.
“Sound of Noise.” MPAA rating: R for language and some brief nudity; in Swedish with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hours, 42 minutes. At the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre, Los Angeles.