Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig are not OK in Noah Baumbach’s “White Noise,” an adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 satire about an Airborne Toxic Event that threatens an already tenuous community. Netflix releases the dark comedy in select theaters on November 25 before it streams December 30. Watch the new trailer below.
Two-time Oscar nominee Driver stars as college professor Jack Gladney, who has made a name for himself in academia by pioneering the field of Hitler studies. Yet when that aforementioned toxic omen takes over his fictional university town, Jack and his wife Babette (Gerwig) are determined to protect their family, played by Raffey Cassidy, Sam Nivola, and May Nivola. André Benjamin, Don Cheadle, and Jodie Turner-Smith also star.
“White Noise” made a splash at the Venice Film Festival back in August when it became the first film to represent Netflix as the festival’s opening night selection. The film then made its way to the New York Film Festival as the opening night pick. Reviews have been mostly upbeat — with IndieWire’s David Ehrlich calling it both “inspired” and “exasperating.”
This zany movie finds writer-director Baumbach operating on a bigger canvas after films like “Marriage Story” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” — also for Netflix — homed in on bourgeois relationship crises. There are elements of those films here, too, as Jack’s marriage to Babette becomes increasingly strained by events apocalyptic and mundane. To give you a sense of how outsize this movie can be, it ends with a choreographed dance routine, apropos of nothing, set to a new song by LCD Soundsystem. Train crashes, car chases, and a CGI cloud abound in Baumbach’s loopy vision.
Indeed, even Baumbach’s IRL partner Gerwig knows the movie’s plot sounds like the ramblings of a “stoned teenager.” In a sitdown with IndieWire earlier this year, Baumbach said he’s still figuring it all out, too.
“There’s a lot to say about it,” he said. “I started doing this as an exercise to see if I felt like it could be a movie. The more I got into it, the more I got excited about things that I could do that you couldn’t do in a book.”