BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO (2013)

Written & Directed By: Peter Strickland 
Cinematography By: Nicholas D. Knowland 
 Editor: Chris Dickens 

Cast: Toby Jones, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Susanna Cappellaro, Cosimo Fusco, Antonio Mancino, Fatma Mohamed, Chiara D’anna

A sound engineer’s work for an Italian horror studio becomes a terrifying case of life imitating art. 


The film didn’t sound like anything amazing. In fact, it sounded more like a trick of a movie, like an M. Night Shamalayan films get labeled as more about spectacle and showing off than story, characters, and general enjoyment. Word of mouth leads me to give it a chance

This film throws you off so much that it makes your mind explode with ideas for possibilities at every turn.

It’s a film that shows a love for the magic, mystery, and technology of cinema and its making. Giving the audience insight into sound and foley artists while building a story around it. Then the film plays around with it to throw you off course. Leaving it up to you and your own interpretations as to what is going on.

It takes what could have been a simple premise and manipulates it and plays with it so much that you always have a feeling of dread. The film always makes sure that you never feel comfortable leaving you to wonder at times have things been lost in translation?

The characters seem like stock from a horror film at times then just seem like characters of the period it portrays. Female characters go from seeming plain and innocent to exotic creatures of mystery and depth. Characters go from seeming mysterious to comedic and or pathetic.

You can look at the film in many ways dark comedy might even be one of a mystery.

The film also feels like a film that could have been made of that period as it recreates to become a homage to that era and it’s filmmaking. It’s like a mix between David Lynch and Francis Ford Coppola but having a style, character and voice all its own.

To me it seemed almost to be a better version of the recent film BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW strived to be.

This definitely would be a good film to watch with INLAND EMPIRE and/or MULHOLLAND DRIVE and BARTON FINK only this film is more compact. It manages to make so much out of so little.

I was shocked at how much this film surprised and delighted me. This is really a standout film and Toby Jones is noteworthy as his character is so timid and awkward and the people at the studio he works at so mean, rude and obnoxious, but insists he is the rude and ungrateful one constantly.

I don’t want to give away too much of the films plot as it has plenty of surprises for the audience that are best to discover and truly contemplate.

My only complaint is that there isn’t a scene where Toby Jones totally gets to lose it. So that there is a release of emotions, but since this film is built on tension for the most part that would let the audience off, and clearly that is not this films intention.

GRADE: B+

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