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80
Based on 22 Critics
critic reviews ( 22 )
fan reviews ( 1 )
  • Eventually, though, these scenes get repetitive, and the muddled final act neither builds nor gets scary. Writer-director Peter Strickland is much more interested in the atmospherics, so when Gilderoy plunges into the abyss (or wherever), we are left confused, and not in a satisfying, David Lynch kind of way. show more

  • Fans of Dario Argento and Mario Bava will appreciate the references. Even for newcomers, there are minor chords to enjoy. If only there were less screaming. show more

  • Like the giallo films it pays tribute to, Berberian Sound Studio is more of a sensory experience than a dramatic one. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com
  • September 16, 2012 er00000000129482
    Report This User

    ‘Berberian Sound Studio’ is set in 1970′s Rome, Italy. The studio is working on a new film called ‘The Equestrian Vortex’. The films director Santini (Antonio Mancino) hires Gilderoy (Toby Jones), an English sound engineer who had previously worked on children’s television programmes and natural history documentaries. Gilderoy assumed the Italian film was about horses, but when he is greeted by the films producer Francesco (Cosimo Fusco) he discovers that the film is actually a horror movie. With typically English stiff upper lip, Gilderoy dives into an environment completely alien to him. Clearly out of his depth, he’s further unnerved by working in a new country with no grasp of Italian. Gilderoy is manipulated by everyone, from the hard-nosed Francesco to the lecherous Santini, and even by the moody secretary Elena (Tonia Sotiropoulou). But Gilderoy knows one thing very well, and that is sound. At the mixing desk, he reigns supreme. He watches over and controls the voices of the actresses Claudia (Eugenia Caruso) and Elisa (Chiara D’Anna) who provide the dialogue and countless screams; the assistants who simulate the violence on screen by slashing and whacking all manner of fruit and vegetables; and creating many of the sounds himself from his own vast repertoire. You appreciate the sound engineers craft from Gilderoy’s numerous charts, his maps of how sounds and effects will be layed over the visuals. Gilderoy clearly relishes his new environment, but equally appalled by it. The uncomfortable subject matter of the horror movie inevitably proves too much for this mild mannered sound engineer, a scene involving a red hot poker and a nun providing the psychological catalyst to his own breakdown. Fantasy bleeds into reality, sounds and dreams blur into each other to form a paranoid nightmare. ‘Berberian sound studio’ is a very clever film, the workings of a films production is focused through the ears and eyes of a sound engineer. Much of the film is quietly dark and darkly comical, you won’t tire of listening to watermelons being slashed and twisted and radish’s snapped, or watching actors making peculiar facial expressions to make even stranger noises. The claustrophobia of working and sleeping in the studio brilliantly feeds into Gilderoys state of mind, the ever dependable Jones giving yet another fine performance. Sound is at the heart of the film, from its production to recording and mixing. Gilderoy harks back to a golden age in British television and film with the the pioneering special effects works of Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram et al for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Their sound experiments helped to shape modern electronic music and are still revered by musicians, its a fitting tribute to see their experiments’ influence in this film. The opening sequence which introduces you to the ‘The Equestrian Vortex’ is one of the most startling opening scenes i’ve ever seen, a perfect a

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