Touch the Sound

"Good"

Touch the Sound Review


Momma always said never touch the sound!

Sorry, but that kept running through my head during the entire running time of this movie. And yet it's completely serious, thoughtful, and meant to be touching: It's about a nearly deaf woman named Evelyn Glennie who, despite her handicap, is a percussionist.

Part street performer, part performance artist, Glennie is quite good at what she does, whether playing a drum kit, a single snare, or a makeshift violin-thingy that looks like a giant's claw. Throughout the near-constant footage of Glennie performing, we're treated to her backstory (she slowly became deaf as a child; her hearing was nearly gone by age eight). We also watch Glennie as she in turn watches in amazement as other performers show off with different instruments and dazzle her with their musical genius.

All of this should by every right be heartfelt, and yet there's something about the movie that feels off, forced, or just not quite right. Maybe it's Glennie's wilfull antiestablishment arrogance, the snooty look on her face that implies that She Is An Artist and that we must respect her grandiose vision. Turns out, unfortunately, there really isn't much of one. Glennie is deaf and she plays the drums, and in the film this ends up coming across almost like a gimmick. It's at its worst when she attempts to teach a deaf child how to play a bass drum, encouraging her to pull the sound out of the drum. The effect is the same as a mime pulling on an invisible rope. It doesn't help when Glennie tries to elucidate her feelings about nature and music in holistic, broad strokes that border on nonsense.

There's another problem here, and that's that the world of the deaf and music has been thoroughly explored in the mass media over the last few decades. This kind of story is just a bit old hat now, and Glennie doesn't bring anything new to the table.

Director Thomas Riedelsheimer, whose swooping camera work and unique style are unique in the doc space, hit a solid triple with his last film, Rivers and Tides, but the subject of that documentary was a fascinating guy who's doing unfathomably complex art with an impossibly huge scope. Touch the Sound, like it or not, is about a lady beating a drum in the street. You do the math.

DVD extras include deleted scenes and more info about Glennie.



Touch the Sound

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 4th November 2004

Distributed by: Celluloid Dreams

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Trevor Davies, Leslie Hills, Stefan Tolz

Also starring:

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