Noise (2007 Australian film)

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theatrical poster
Directed byMatthew Saville
Written byMatthew Saville
Produced byTrevor Blainey
StarringBrendan Cowell
Henry Nixon
Luke Elliot
Katie Wall
Maia Thomas
Nicholas Bell
CinematographyLaszlo Baranyai
Edited byGeoff Hitchins
Music byBryony Marks
Distributed byMadman Entertainment (Australia)
Film Movement (US)
Release date
Running time
108 minutes
Box office$869,107[2]

Noise is a 2007 Australian drama-thriller film written and directed by Matthew Saville. The film stars Brendan Cowell, Henry Nixon, Luke Elliot, Katie Wall, Maia Thomas and Nicholas Bell.


The film is set against the landscape of two potentially related murders: that of an engaged woman in the inner-western Melbourne suburb of Sunshine, and that of seven passengers on a Melbourne train. From there, the film deals primarily with the experiences of Lavinia Smart, a young woman who boarded the train shortly after the murders, and police Constable Graham McGahan, who is afflicted with increasingly severe tinnitus. When he requests light duty on account of his tinnitus, Constable McGahan is assigned the night shift of a police information van in Sunshine, where he encounters the traumatized members of the local community, including Lucky Phil, a mentally handicapped man, and Dean Stouritis, the dead woman's fiancé.

At the same time, the film explores the fear Lavinia experiences after the horrific events she witnessed. Although she escapes with her life, the police are dissatisfied with her statements and accuse her of holding back information. Lavinia is further traumatized when she realizes that the killer has stolen a portrait that can be used to identify her. The police try to reassure her of her safety, but a man she identified in a police lineup easily tracks her down and tries to intimidate her. After Lavinia angrily confronts him and explains her situation, he apologizes and gives her a ride back to her house.

After McGahan dismisses the concerns of Craig Finlay, a profane racist, Finlay ambushes McGahan and opens fire on the van with a shotgun. Finlay also kills a passing motorist while hunting McGahan, who escapes through a window. The crashed car's horn cancels out McGahan's tinnitus, and he hears Finlay approaching him. McGahan kills Finlay, though he is shot and wounded. After he rescues a baby from the car, McGahan collapses, and the film leaves his ultimate fate unresolved.



Tinnitus was chosen for its inescapability and to emphasise themes of isolation.[3] Matthew Saville begun writing the script after the Port Arthur Massacre in August 1997. He states that he was fascinated by the country's resilience following their grief. The film faced commercial issues: it was designed to be difficult to categorize, unknown actors were chosen for casting, and a distinctly Australian voice made foreign distribution difficult. Saville, however, wanted to remain honest and uncompromising in his script.[4]


Noise premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.[1] It received a limited release in Australia on 3 May 2007 and grossed $869,107 at the box office.[2] It was released on DVD on 10 October 2007.[5]


Margaret Pomeranz gave the film four and a half stars out of five and David Stratton four out of five on At the Movies.[6] Paul Brynes of The Sydney Morning Herald rated it 3.5/4 stars and called it "an impressive debut, a serious, fresh, surprising film by a writer-director with plenty on his mind."[7] Jake Wilson of The Age rated it 3.5/5 stars and wrote that Saville "demonstrates considerable reserves of dry wit."[8] Russell Edwards of Variety called the film "a slickly executed experiment full of sound and fury, signifying nothing more than technical prowess."[9]


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(2007 AFI Awards)
Best Film Trevor Blainey Nominated
Best Direction Matthew Saville Nominated
Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted Nominated
Best Actor Brendan Cowell Nominated
Best Cinematography Laszlo Baranyai Nominated
Best Editing Geoff Hitchins Nominated
Best Original Music Score Bryony Marks Nominated
Best Sound Emma Bortignon Won
Philippe Decrausaz Won
Doron Kipen Won
Best Production Design Paddy Reardon Nominated
Australian Directors Guild Best Direction in a Feature Film Matthew Saville Won
ASSG Award Feature Film Soundtrack of the Year Nominated
Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Recording Philippe Decrausaz Nominated
Georgina Hanley Nominated
Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Design Scott Findlay Won
Gerard Long Won
Jed Palmer Won
Emma Bortignon Won
Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Mixing Won
Doron Kipen Won
Keith Thomas Won
AWGIE Award Best Writing in a Feature Film - Original Matthew Saville Nominated
Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo - New Directors Competition Nominated
FCCA Awards Best Film Trevor Blainey Won
Best Director Matthew Saville Won
Best Screenplay Nominated
Best Actor Brendan Cowell Won
Best Cinematography László Baranyai Won
Best Editing Geoff Hitchins Won
Best Music Score Bryony Marks Won
Golden Trailer Award Best Sound Editing Nominated
Inside Film Award Best Director Matthew Saville Nominated
Best Actor Brendan Cowell Nominated
Best Editing Geoff Hitchins Won
Best Music Bryony Marks Nominated
Best Sound Emma Bortignon Won
Philippe Decrausaz Won
Doron Kipen Won
Leeds International Film Festival Special Mention Matthew Saville Won
Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Nominated


  1. ^ a b McCarthy, Todd (29 November 2006). "Sundance reveals 2007 lineup". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b "What's Screening". Screen Australia. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  3. ^ Pomeranz, Margaret. "Noise Interview". At the Movies. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  4. ^ "PARK CITY '07 INTERVIEW". Indiewire. 21 January 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  5. ^ Churchill, Chris (24 September 2007). "Noise - Australian Gritty Crime Drama DVD Release". Twitch Film. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  6. ^ Pomeranz, Margaret; Stratton, David. "Noise". At the Movies. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  7. ^ Brynes, Paul (5 May 2007). "Noise". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  8. ^ Wilson, Jake (4 May 2007). "Noise". The Age. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  9. ^ Edwards, Russell (20 January 2007). "Review: 'Noise'". Variety. Retrieved 27 December 2013.

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