Berberian Sound Studio
Within the walls of a 1970s Italian film studio a living nightmare of sensory manipulation peaks and holds us under the sinister control of a lucid dream. Toby Jones is the fish out of water sound technician whose psyche is invaded by an unseen giallo project in this excellent second feature from Peter Strickland. Here is a true craftsman, toying with audience perceptions as a cat with a mouse, but there is a masochistic pleasure to be under his control. The film deftly exploits the relationship between sound and image, forcing terror of rotting vegetables or laughter through torturous screams. Jones plays his role perfectly in Middle English autumnal hues. As the mental dimmer switch is turned his paranoia flowers into a dark fantasy of the repressed.
Many will term it Lynchian, but unlike Mulholland Drive this lacks the depth of its twisting narrative. It does, however, show a technical master at work with Strickland delivering the bloodless horror of a dissolving mind with genuine verve and panache. [Alan Bett]