Raindance Film Review: The Noise Of Engines

Film Review of The Noise of Engines starring Robert Naylor, Tanja Björk, Naïla Rabel, Marie-Thérèse Fortin and Alexandrine Agostini

DIRECTED BY

Philippe Grégoire

STARRING

Robert Naylor, Tanja Björk, Naïla Rabel, Marie-Thérèse Fortin and Alexandrine Agostini

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SYNOPSIS

Alexandre, an instructor at the Canadian customs college, will finds himself under surveillance by police investigators trying to get to the bottom of the sexually explicit drawings that have been troubling the town.

RFF Review - The Noise of Engines

Alexandre returns to his hometown after his employer places him on compulsory leave. As he forms a new friendship with a female Icelandic drag racer, he finds himself under surveillance by police investigators trying to get to the bottom of the sexually explicit drawings that have been troubling the town.

Raindance Film Review - The Noise of Engines

The Noise of Engines, also known as Le bruit des moteurs, is a Candian drama written and directed by Philippe Grégoire. The film focuses on Alexandre Mastrogiuseppe, an instructor at the Canadian customs college, who returns home to his small town after his employer places him on compulsory leave. As he forms a new friendship with a female Icelandic drag racer, he finds himself under surveillance by police investigators trying to get to the bottom of the sexually explicit drawings that have been troubling the town.

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The Noise of Engines is Grégoire’s first feature film and with a well-edited and shot opening sequence focusing on various cars doing donuts at various locations, we’re then immediately thrown into what leads to Alexandre’s bizarre sentencing of compulsory leave due to allegations made against him. We see the scenario unfold, and it is somewhat humorous, and when we see upon when Alexandre returns to his small-town home, we find out why the police are investigating sexually explicit drawings and are specifically targeting him as their primary suspect, it leads to some rather bizarre conversations and scenarios. As bizarre as they may seem, the quirky, dry sense of humour in Grégoire’s writing is what makes the film work so well for me. He tackles a few issues here, from immigration (“We’re all a little from somewhere else here. We don’t often have to look very far back to know where we come from.”), to highlighting the abuse of power, particularly of those in uniform, and he presents it in his own style that makes it feel fresh.

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The film is also well directed by Grégoire, from the opening sequence, to a particular POV shot within a car as the driver races around the race track that the town is famously known for, which is complimented by Shawn Pavlin’s cinematography work. Robert Naylor gives a very good performance as Alexandre, who has a particular attitude towards those in uniform and outlook on life that provides compelling viewing, particularly with someone who has grown tired of the small-town mentality, and his interaction with Tanja Björk’s mysterious Icelandic driver that provides some interesting scenes, with Björk’s performance enhancing the material as someone who seems to know a lot more than she’s letting on. Unfortunately, the film fell flat to me with its conclusion, primarily because it felt anti-climatic.

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VERDICT

A solid directorial feature debut from Philippe Grégoire, whose work I’ll be interested to see more of in the future, with a very good lead performance by Robert Naylor.

★★★