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Life in a middle-class neighborhood in present day Recife, Brazil, takes an unexpected turn after the arrival of an independent private security firm. The presence of these men brings a sense of safety and a good deal of anxiety to a culture which runs on fear. Meanwhile, Bia, married and mother of two, must find a way to deal with the constant barking and howling of her neighbor's dog. A slice of 'Braziliana', a reflection on history, violence and noise.Written by
O Som ao Redor
So-So film has great potential for captivating you but turns real boring real fast stretching your patience level
Neighboouring Sounds is a film about various people living in this one particular city/neighborhood area and the various problems these people have and the growing suspicion they have against one another in their ongoing story lines and what happens when these suspicions boil over instead of being dealt with right away or at least communicated with one another. It would clearly like to be a great film about the various classes of people that make up a city that has great history and great numbers of both rich and poor people trying to make a home in the same terrain, and to that end it starts out very well.
Introducing a slew of characters most of whom all live very close to one another--and deftly sketching in the details of their situations and their problems as well as their personalities--the film does a wonderful job introducing you to the world all of its character live in. As the film bounces back and fourth between the four or five plot lines that are unfolding--you get a great sense of who these people are, why they are the way they are, and what keeps these people both optimistic and pessimistic about their lives---you feel like you understand why the stressed out working mom feels hassled beyond belief by the barking dog next door, you understand the great hope that the 2 young lovers have for one another while trying to deal with each other's baggage (her history and his family) you understand the paranoia that this new neighborhood watch captain brings on the citizens whom he is trying to allegedly protect and serve. The scene where the new self appointed neighborhood watch guy tries to charm the stressed out dog hating woman is really good, in fact i would say the self appointed neighborhood watch guy's subplot was probably my favorite part of the film if only because his story seemed to be the most interesting--it seemed to contain the most promise in terms of storyline to be filled in as the movie goes on.
Unfortunately while the movie goes on, the suspense level that something amazingly bad or something ominous is going on goes on as long as the movie does---the movie keeps heightening the level of suspense we're supposed to feel, goosing the film with quick flashes of a somewhat blurry figure scrambling across the screen at the edge of the frame, or off in the distance, using these various sounds on the soundtrack to suggest that something is about to go down...there's even a good two or three unsettling dream scenes where something completely weird will happen and just when you're saying to yourself What is Happening Now? the film cuts to one of its characters waking up alarmed and somewhat worried about something bad happening in their neighborhood--- this works really really well until it doesn't work...the movie cries wolf once too often to really be effective in the end---there comes a point where you just want to say all right enough premonitions and ominous graffiti signs already---you've earned the right to now scare the crap out of us---but it doesn't--it just keeps going right on along, strongly hinting and suggesting that something horrible is about to happen. with scene after scene of the mere illusion that something wicked this way comes. That the film keeps trying to goose the scares in scene after scene sends the films once captivating energy level down quite a bit---literally it goes from being an engaging and intriguing film to being repetitive and somewhat sleep inducing.
It seems like what the movie is trying to say with its different plot threads is that everything (esp in a city with lots of people rubbing against each other) is cause for worry--some things seem to be worth the worry, and other things seems nothing more then your overactive imagination and paranoia. (is that soccer ball playing kid trying to spy on the rich tutored girl because he likes her or because he wants revenge for his ran over soccer ball?---is the video on the security camera making the rounds on the internet of this guy being killed cause for severe worrying and an all night neighborhood watch force?---are these dream sequences based on anything beyond the characters various stresses???) I can get behind a premise like that in a movie--but i felt that this one doesn't quite know where to take that specific idea once its more or less laid out except to repeat the idea that anything can be cause for suspicion among a community made up of either strangers or even in a supposed tight knit group of people.
It'd be nice to report that the movie ends with a fantastic closing scene one that really captures the fear that everyone feels or at least a slam bang scene of violence that proves that something horrible did finally happen--- while the two closing scenes are fine and kind of deliver on that edgy and unnerved feeling the film's been so thoroughly setting up... there's also a sense of that's it? finality to it (much like life itself???)--while the last scene mirrors the first scene nicely enough---i can't quite recommend this if only because i wasn't entirely sure the film worked as a whole. Movie seems to be more about tone and atmosphere then about any specific plot even tho i'd been steadily watching and observing the characters go through their story lines with some interest at least.
Some people will love the constant quiet paranoia that all the characters keep feeling, and some people will hate the fact that the movie keeps on going with scene after scene of this, but for me i'm not entirely sure that the feeling this movie gives you was one worth sitting thru over 2 hours to feel.
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