Australian Cinema



Critical Review and Bibliography



Noise (2007)





Director: Matt Seville



By Robert Grbavac








Part 1: Film Information



This film mainly focuses on the life of a police officer named Graham McGahan, who suffers from “Tinnitus” which is some kind of hearing disorder, he struggles to accept the fact that he has weaknesses. There are two crimes which occur and the police are desperate for witnesses, and the local community is shrouded in secrecy. The constable is stationed at a police caravan near the crime scene. Instead of valuable witnesses coming forward, he only gets people visiting him are the ones who are traumatised from the events. The films also deals with the issues that Lavinia Smart goes through, and she was the woman who boarded the train just after the crimes took place, it also looks at how Lavinia and Graham and what they both experience.

Info about Director:
Name: Matthew Saville

Matthew Saville's films have screened in over 200 festivals. His short feature Roy Höllsdotter Live (2002) screened at the Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Locarno, Cork, Montreal and Commonwealth film festivals, as well as on Australian broadcaster SBS.

It won the prestigious Dendy Award for Best Short Film (over 15 minutes) at the 2003 Sydney Film Festival, and Best Short Film at the 2003 Lexus IF Awards, where Matthew was also honoured with the Best Rising Talent Award.


Matthew Saville (writer)



Info about Producer:

In 1986 Trevor Blainey took up the position of Finance Manager at the Australian Children's Television Foundation. In 1993 he left the ACTF to work as a freelance production accountant with a view to producing his own films. As an accountant he has worked on nearly 30 films, and in 2002 he produced his first film, the multi award-winning short feature Roy Höllsdotter Live (2002). Noise which was the first feature for him appeared at Sundance in early 2007.


Release Dates for Australia:

The film was released in Australian cinemas on May 3rd, 2007.

DVD rental: October 10th, 2007
DVD retail:  October 10th, 2007

Dvd Info:

Media intelligence (DVD)

Worldwide Release Dates:


Germany  12 February 2007 (European Film Market)

USA  26 April 2007 (Newport Beach film festival)

USA 10 June 2007 (Seattle International Film Festival)

Czech Republic 29 June 2007 (Karlovy Vary Film Festival)
New Zealand 26 July 2007 (Auckland International Film Festival)

Spain  6 October 2007 (Sitges International Festival of Fantastic and Horror Cinema)

Greece  21 November 2007 (Thessaloniki International Film Festival)

Canada  5 April 2008 (Pacific Cinémathèque Pacifique)

Film’s Budget:

Currently nothing available

Box Office Figures:

Not available


Filming Locations:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
108 min / Germany:105 min (European Film Market)

Cast & Crew:


Brendan Cowell ... Constable Graham McGahan

Maia Thomas ... Lavinia Smart

Henry Nixon ... Craig Finaly

Nicholas Bell ... Det. Noel Birchall

Katie Wall ... Constable Caitlin Robinson

Fiona MacLeod ... Detective Melanie Ryan

Maud Davey ... Senior Constable Rhonda Harris

Luke Elliot ... Dean Stouritis

Richard Cawthorne ... Kermond

Simon King ... John Smith

Aaron Mcloughlin ... Paraplegic

Richard Pyros ... Carter

Damien Richardson ... Rhodes


Awards: Wins & Nominations:

Australian Film Institute Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
2007 Won AFI Award Best Sound
Emma Bortignon
Doron Kipen
Philippe Decrausaz

Nominated AFI Award Best Cinematography
László Baranyai

Best Direction
Matthew Saville

Best Editing
Geoff Hitchins

Best Film
Trevor Blainey

Best Lead Actor
Brendan Cowell

Best Original Music Score
Bryony Marks

Best Production Design
Paddy Reardon

Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted)
Matthew Saville

Australian Screen Sound Guild Year Result Award

Category/Recipient(s) 2007 Won ASSG Award Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Design

Emma Bortignon
Scott Findlay
Jed Palmer
Gerard Long

Best Achievement in Sound for Film Sound Mixing
Doron Kipen
Emma Bortignon
Keith Thomas

Australian Writers' Guild Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)

2007 Nominated Awgie Award Feature Film - Original
Matthew Saville


Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s) 2008 Won FCCA Award Best Actor
Brendan Cowell

Best Cinematography

László Baranyai

Best Director
Matthew Saville

Best Editing
Geoff Hitchins

Best Film

Best Music Score
Bryony Marks

Nominated FCCA Award Best Screenplay
Matthew Saville

IF Awards Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s) 2007 Won IF Award Best Editing
Geoff Hitchins

Best Sound
Emma Bortignon
Doron Kipen
Philippe Decrausaz

Nominated IF Award Best Actor
Brendan Cowell

Best Director
Matthew Saville

Best Music
Bryony Marks

Leeds International Film Festival Year Result Award

Category/Recipient(s) 2007 Won Special Mention
Matthew Saville

Sundance Film Festival Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s) 2007
Nominated Grand Jury Prize World Cinema - Dramatic
Matthew Saville

Production Companies


Special Effects




Reviews: Online & Newspaper,9171,1604983,00.html


Interviews with filmmakers:


More interviews can be found on the special two-disc dvd:

From “At the movies”, “RRR”, “Popcorn” and “Australia Talks”.
(Above info obtained from “Noise” dvd)


Details of film’s online presence:

There was only a limited number of reviews which I found on the internet. I presume that it’s because there are many other films that have “Noise” as a title such as e.g. “White Noise”, and many other films from previous years have also been named “Noise”. So if you plan on finding out information it is important to do what I did and type in the year of production e.g. “Noise (2007)”. It is important to do this because there are least five other films from previous years that are also named “Noise”.



Information obtained from:

The information for the film “Noise” was obtained from the website, which provided me with all the details about the film, except for the box-office results, which was hard to find on this website.
If anyone has an interest in the film, than I suggest that they head to the website, because it’s the best place to find out info.
There were a only a few interviews which I found online relating to
“Noise”, but if you would like to find interview with the cast and crew, producer and director then they can be obtained from the dvd itself.


Part 2: Critical Review Of The Film and it’s Literature



This is a story about the wrong person in the right place at the wrong time. Two heinous crimes have left a suburban town reeling. Police quickly connect them but are desperate for witnesses as the local community enfolds itself in a shroud of secrecy, borne from fear and an untrammeled mistrust of authority.

A young police constable, Graham McGahan, suffers from a chronic hearing problem and applies for worker's compensation. To his chagrin, he is stationed at a police caravan near the crime scene. Living on the periphery of the investigation, McGahan crosses paths with the various people affected by the tragedies and uncovers an unraveling nightmare of guilt and suspicion.


The Melbourne police officer with impaired hearing tries to take control of his social and professional life in this drama from Australian writer-director Matthew Saville. On the same night that a grisly train shooting takes half a dozen lives, patrolman Graham McGahan (Brendan Cowell) collapses on a nearby escalator — just the latest symptom of his tinnitus, a medical condition characterized by a high-pitched ringing in the ears.

Considered damaged goods, McGahan is shipped off to the night shift in a police trailer set up in a sleepy suburb; he's essentially the on-duty secretary should anyone come forward with news about a different case, involving a murdered local girl. Steadily entrenching himself in this unusual community, yet frustrated by both the desk job and his growing disconnect with reality, McGahan takes it out by arguing with his live-in girlfriend (Katie Wall). Meanwhile, the lone surviving witness of the train attack (Maia Thomas) starts believing that if the gunman left her alive, it wasn't for long.

My own commentary about the film:

The film’s opening really surprised me, because there was this train full of dead bodies, it looked to me as if a massacre had occured. Then Lavinia, the young girl with her headphones boards the train unaware of what had just occurred until the person next to her collapses on the floor.

Lavinia really had no idea about what to do, until she comforts a passenger who is actually the killer. He points a gun to her head, she screams, but then he leaves without killing her.
From this scene and onwards I knew that Lavinia would be on the run.
When she escapes I knew that she would become the only witness to the crime because she was the only one who was alive on  the train, all the other passengers were deceased.
Lavinia is terrified that she will become the next victim, because the killer knows her details.

The policeman Graham is suffering from tinnitus which is some kind of a hearing problem he has. As a result of his collapse in a lift, he can hear this buzzing noise in his ear. This problem that he has makes him feel isolated. Isolation is a key theme in the film. He also has this ongoing fight with his personal demons.

His job is downgraded after another incident took place which involved a girl being murdered. He is then relocated to a police van near the crime scene. Locals come in to chat with him, including the fiance of the dead girl. This scene made me think that the neighbours nearby came in for a chat.

Christmas Eve arrives and he realises that the murderer is nearby watching the van. A shootout then takes place afterwards. The police are notified that an officer is down, and a chopper and patrol car are on their way.

I thought that the ending was a typical cliffhanger, in how he eventually found the murderer, but was wounded by his gunfire. He still managed to kill the murderer. The film ended with Graham staring at the police helicopter and the lighting in that scene was remarkable, it was quite heavenly I think that the ending was quite lame and left me wanting more, because I didn’t know his fate at all.


Prior work of director:


Australianess about the film


One of the questions that Saville’s smart script is asking is what effect chronic isolation can have on a nation, not just a character. Noise is a genre film with a plot about a serial killer, a bunch of cops, and a witness in fear for her life – but it doesn’t feel at all familiar in its style or concerns. It does feel very Australian, and one of its concerns is whether isolation from the rest of the world has somehow affected our culture. ‘I was really interested in that theme of isolation,’ Saville has said, ‘because I think it’s sort of an indelible part of our national character in that we’re – as our former Prime Minister so elegantly put it, you know – we’re at the arse end of the world… I think that’s actually coloured our national character over the last 200 years. A lot of us behave in a certain way, which is sort of MaGahanesque


Situating the film in relation to a Australian cinema as a type of film and as one which belongs to a genre or genres

This film police drama – psycho/drama/thriller