Toby Jones in Berberian Sound Studio (2012)

Not Sound Enough

Mild mannered sound effects engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) travels to Italy where he has been hired to provide the sound effects for an Italian horror movie. It is repetitive and slow work whilst he also has to contend with trying to claim his travelling expenses. But slowly things start or appear to drive Gilderoy mad as strange things begin to happen to him.

I will say this for "Berberian Sound Studio" it is an interesting idea for a movie and one which feeds on many movie fan's inquisitive nature to know what goes on behind the scenes. The first half delivers exactly that as we enter the word of effects engineering during the 70s where the noise of a melon being whacked was used in movies. And with the emphasis on the sounds it is certainly a movie which grabs your attention with the great use of sounds.

But after an entertaining set up with moments of dark humour "Berberian Sound Studio" gets messy as it brings in the horror and the madness of Gilderoy where it is as if he is appearing in his own horror movie. Now maybe he is, maybe we are watching a movie within a movie within a movie if you know what I mean; maybe it is something else as I am not sure. All I know is that the second half gets far too confusing and after an entertaining build up it is frustrating especially with Toby Jones doing such a good job of playing the ordinary Brit in a foreign country.

What this all boils down to is that "Berberian Sound Studio" could have been really good as it has a good basic idea and a good build up. But unfortunately it is undone by a second half which is incredibly hard to make sense of.