‘Noise’ is a Belgian mystery thriller directed by Steffen Geypens. It follows the story of Matthias and his family as they move into Matthias’s childhood home. Matthias and Liv are young parents to a newborn, Julius, and are struggling to settle into the new normal that a baby brings. However, things get worse for Matthias when he falls down a rabbit hole after trying to uncover the whole truth behind a local factory scandal. As he probes deeper into the issues, dark secrets about his family’s past reveal themselves, and Matthias’s psyche spirals into insanity.
‘Noise’ is a suspense-filled movie that zeroes down on a man’s unchecked childhood trauma and explores the horrifying ramifications it ends up having in his adult life. The plot also revolves around Matthias’s obsessive infatuation with an investigation into the unethical covering-up of a factory accident. The movie provides an enthralling premise and builds upon it by utilizing Mattias’s ominous descent into madness mixed with heavy doses of intrigue and mystery. However, in a pursuit to maintain as much mystery in the plot as possible, the movie does end up wrapping up without giving any solid, tangible answers. As a result, it leaves the viewers with a few questions by the end. Here are some of them discussed. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Noise Plot Synopsis
The movie starts with a confoundingly sinister scene of a woman walking into a pond, presumably in an effort to drown herself, while a man follows after her, calling out to her in panic. The narrative leaves this thread as is and next picks up the story of Matthias, Liv, and Julius settling into their new house. Matthias is a social media influencer. He documents moments from his life for his followers, centering his content around his family and newborn child. The couple seems perfectly happy and satisfied with their lives, though they’re still getting used to being new first-time parents.
Additionally, the new move into an unfamiliar neighborhood also presents different problems for the family. While Liv tries to get to know the people around town and market her catering business, Matthias finds himself spending more time with his father. Matthias’s father, Pol, who has dementia, talks in riddles about some obscure but intriguing accident in his old factory. Matthias starts looking into the same accident and ends up engrossed in discovering the truth and bringing it out to the public— and as a result, clearing his father’s wrongfully tarnished name.
However, as his investigation progresses, his focus on it becomes a single-minded obsession. Steeping in anxiety and paranoia, with visions of the dead haunting his days and nights, Matthias becomes irate and snappish. He starts to disdain Julius, whose constant cries and fussing drive him to the edge of a breakdown. As Matthias gets closer to the bottom of the mystery, his sanity and familial relationships fall apart at the seam. Through it all, Liv tries to find answers about her husband and his family to save Matthias from himself.
Noise Explained: What Caused Matthias to Become so Unstable?
As the plot progresses, it makes the viewers anticipate some sort of supernatural or otherwise strange element to appear in the story due to the jumpscares from the dead and the dying. However, in the end, the unnatural wind up having to do nothing with Matthias’s declining sense of normalcy. Throughout the movie, we are presented with a number of reasons behind Matthias’s behavior. Liv hints at Matthias’s issues with sound and noise in general. This, of course, ties neatly with the theme of the movie. Matthias, a brand-new parent, struggles with the persistent noise that naturally comes with a baby. The same cries from Julius that Liv never even notices in her sleep-wake Matthias up in an instant. His irritation with Julius’s cries starts off as anyone’s normal reaction to such a situation, but it soon turns into something much more concerning. More often than not, the viewers are left wondering about the safety of the baby whenever he shares the screen with Matthias.
Matthias’s sensitivity to noise is heightened by his obsession with the case. As an influencer, Matthias first gets involved with the investigation as a way to get engagement from his followers. However, as he bonds with his father over the case, his motivation behind solving them soon evolves. The narrative heavily implies that Pol had been a distant and impossible-to-please man, even to his own son. As a result, Matthias ends up with a lot of unresolved and unaddressed childhood trauma. His unwavering infatuation with bringing out the truth behind the factory accident can thus be seen as a way for him to finally prove himself to his father.
However, his transformation into obsessiveness and instability also stems from his other parent, Michelle. Though Michelle died when Matthias was very young, and thus he never knew her at all— she could still have a hand in Matthias’s deteriorating mental health. Michelle herself showcased many mental health issues like anxiety, insomnia, and paranoia, all of which can be genetically inherited. She also suffered from post-partum psychosis. If you look at the story through the lens of generational trauma, Matthias is also essentially going through a post-partum psychosis of sorts.
And so, although it isn’t ghosts or anything else more menacing behind Matthias’s unstable behavior, it can all be traced back to a conglomeration of all of the above. In a way, ‘Noise’ tries to tell a story about unchecked childhood trauma and how it affects a man as he enters his own stage of parenthood. In the end, Matthias is haunted, not by ghosts or some unsolved mystery, but rather by his own trauma.
Does Timme Die?
Timme is Liv’s brother and Matthias’s close friend. His connection with Matthias and Liv makes him one of the most important parts of the family’s life. He brings meaningful gifts for Julius, helps the couple move, and is there for support or any help when needed. In the beginning, during the early stages of Matthias’s investigation into the factory, Timme accompanies Matthias, and the two break into the abandoned building together. Timme, unlike Matthias, is very uninterested and unenthused about this mystery. Still, Matthias finds an old records book on this excursion into the factory with Timme. The book is basically the starting point of Matthias’s obsession.
As Matthias’s obsession grows and his behavior starts becoming troubling, Timme is one of the first people who take notice. Timme keeps track of Matthias’s social media updates and watches him ignore Julius’s cries due to his focus on research. Later, when Matthias has a breakdown caused by terrifying visions and auditory overstimulation, Liv tries to talk to Matthias about his issues and employs Timme’s help for the task. It’s pretty obvious that Timme is close to the family and cares about their well-being.
However, eventually, his concern for Matthias makes him follow him back into the factory. Matthias ends up back in the factory to look for more clues but encounters the sight of a dead animal again, which enhances his paranoia. By the time Timme finds him, Matthias is standing on the edge of a hairpin trigger, so when Timme reaches out to him, Matthias attacks him in fear and accidentally mortally wounds him. Instead of helping his friend, Matthias leaves Timme there, bleeding out in a deserted building. If the blow to the head hasn’t already killed Timme, surely time will.
Still, that isn’t the end for Timme. Soon, a group of teenagers who have a habit of trespassing into the building enters the factory. A girl from this group stumbles across Timme when his phone starts ringing after getting a call from Liv. The last we see of Timme is him breathing if gravely injured and with help nearby. Therefore, it’s safe to say that regardless of the dark, violent events of the movie, ultimately, Timme manages to make it to the other side alive.
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