Before The Sound of Silence began, the Sundance festival programmer who introduced it called it “lyrical,” “reflective,” “philosophical” and “boldly quiet.” Immediately I thought to myself “oh no.” Those descriptors all tend to be film festival-ese for “it’s dry but give it a chance,” which isn’t necessarily the first thing you want to hear before a movie.
The Sound Of Silence lived up to its pre-apology. Michael Tyburski’s film, adapted from the short Palimpsest, by Ben Nabors, is a clever, proudly “small” film, a peculiar little story about a “house tuner” named Peter played by Peter Sarsgaard, a music theorist who visits people’s houses and fiddles with their appliances to create a soundscape to optimize their well-being. “I see the problem, your toaster is producing a C flat,” he’ll tell a bemused homeowner, smiling gently as he wraps a radiator joint in lead tape.
It’s scholarly to the point that it’s bloodless, a dowdy tweed jacket of a film.