“Noise” is a 2023 Belgian thriller-drama film new on Netflix that has a fairly interesting premise but ultimately turns out to be the most basic practice of the genre. Following the story of a couple, Matt and Liv, who move into Matt’s childhood home after many years to stumble upon family secrets from the past, the film generally takes a slow approach to things but loses charm towards its end. Although “Noise” can be given a casual watch, the arguably anti-climactic end might easily disappoint as well.
‘Noise’ (2023) Plot Summary: What Is The Belgian Film About?
A young couple, Matt and Liv, arrive at a big country house along with their infant boy and settle their things inside. The two have moved into the place, and soon it is revealed that the house happened to be Matt’s childhood home, where he had grown up. While Liv runs a catering business professionally, Matt is a social media influencer, and a rather successful one with a high count of followers. The man mentions all the promotional content that he creates and the items and goods that he receives for free as part of his work. In fact, the entire nursery for their baby and all the products that they use for him are all things Matt has received from his clients. But along with the benefits, life as an influencer has its demands as well, as Matt has to always think of content he can create. However, the man sometimes seems too engrossed with his profession, placing it ahead of his baby as well. Liv’s younger brother Timme is often seen helping Matt around, and the man visits the house after the couple moves in.
Initially, it seems like Timme is the only family they have, but soon enough, a major character is revealed in the form of Matt’s elderly father, Pol. Suffering from physical and mental illnesses due to old age, Pol resides at a retirement home but has the habit of leaving the place unannounced and walking the short distance to his house. In one such instance, after Matt and Liv have moved in, Matt sees his father on the lawn of the house and walks him back to the retirement home. On their way, though, the old man approaches the gates of an abandoned, run-down factory and talks about some floods. Unaware of any of this, Matt initially thinks that it is all Pol’s imagination, but when the old man claims that there is still some secret to unravel, Matt becomes instantly interested. So are his followers, when he puts up a poll about exploring the abandoned factory, and Matt decides to check the place out, intending to find whatever secret his father was hinting at.
What Was The Real Truth That Matt Uncovered At His Childhood Home?
“Noise” sets up its structure on the basis of the mysteriously abandoned factory near Matt’s house that his father, Pol, shows him. As Matt scours the internet looking for any information, he finds that the place used to be a chemical plant that had been established and was run by Pol many years ago. Although the establishment had been welcomed by the community in the surrounding neighborhoods as it was creating employment opportunities, things did not remain so positive later on. The toxic wastewater that was being released from the chemical plant had been causing harm to people, including irritation in the eyes and breathing difficulties. In fact, this wastewater was also being released recklessly, flooding the basements of many houses in the nearby villages and causing resentment in the community against the factory.
Eventually, disaster struck when the chambers of the factory flooded, and five workers were still inside. These five workers were killed in the accident, and their families filed a lawsuit against the chemical company. As part of their way of dealing with the matter, the company made the manager, Pol, face the punishment, and he was fired from the job, and the factory shut down. But when Pol first took Matt to the factory gates a few days before, he mentioned that there were some things that had been carefully kept away from the media and that more secrets remained buried underneath. Matt’s interest in the matter had grown out of these claims, and the son continued looking for any information on the internet. Although Matt does not find anything solid or conclusive, he does end up making a theory of the entire matter—that more than five workers had been trapped and killed inside the factory during the flood but that the company had not reported these deaths. Matt is sure that his father knew about everyone who had died, and therefore the company fired him from his job so that he could not speak out against them.
Although Matt’s search initially begins out of curiosity, pretty soon, it turns into an obsessive need to find just about anything. Liv starts to take notice of her boyfriend’s erratic behavior and even tries to address it, but Matt just brushes her off or pushes her away every time. Liv has some difficulty fitting in with the others in the town as well, as they do not seem to be very friendly. Although the shopkeepers seem welcoming at first, they do not treat Liv with much seriousness or warmth when she mentions that she runs a business and would like to buy goods from them for her job. The woman has to think twice before letting her baby off with Matt either, as the father gradually grows more resentful and angry at the baby. Over time, Matt develops a strange fear of or irritation with noises, such as the electronic buzz of the refrigerator or the whirring noise of the blender. Soon enough, he grows irritated by his baby’s cries too, and there are moments in the film that almost make it a possibility that Matt would hurt his baby son. The man visits the abandoned factory with his brother-in-law Timme too, but cannot find anything there except the rotting carcass of a dead animal. Although this is nothing out of the ordinary, Matt is convinced that this carcass signifies the possibility of something more sinister lying deeper inside the factory. After this visit, he starts to feel the symptoms of the chemical wastewater himself, with breathing difficulties and irritation in his eye, but he continues to keep investigating the matter.
Although Matt’s behavior initially seems driven by a deep desire to help his father, it quickly turns into something more obsessive and concerning. He digs up old maps of the factory and visits the place once again, where Timme joins him, too, unannounced. Startled by the sudden presence of Timme, Matt hits the man on the head and severely injures him. But unlike what would be natural, Matt is too scared by this incident, and he runs out of the place before helping the man. He does not even mention to anyone that Timme was still lying injured inside the factory all by himself. Matt feels that he has killed his brother-in-law and therefore wants to avoid any trouble. Although he pretends to be more sincere and loving towards Liv out of the guilt of having killed her brother, Matt cannot keep up this pretension for long and is ultimately left alone by Liv, who realizes that her husband is beyond any help. For a number of times till now, Matt had been visiting Pol at the retirement home and would speak with great excitement about his new findings about the chemical factory. Ultimately, Matt even tells his father that he intends to dig up all the remaining bodies from inside the factory, but Pol just looks on cluelessly. Matt now pushes aside his father as well, quite literally, ready to harm the very man whose reputation he was trying to revive by finding the dead bodies. The obsessive nature in Matt gradually makes him look mentally sick and in need of help, and that is exactly what things turn out to be.
The fact that nobody spoke much about Pol’s wife or Matt’s mother was striking from the beginning of the film. It was mentioned that Matt had grown up in the house alone with his father, as his mother, Michelle, had passed away when he was just a baby. But not much more about the woman or her death could be found out. Liv once tried to learn more from the shopkeepers she met, but she, too, was unable to learn anything significant. Finally, in the end, when she goes to meet with Pol wearing the same dress that once belonged to Michelle, does the true family secret come out. Michelle had been suffering from a number of symptoms of serious mental ailments, including anxiety, insomnia, and paranoia. To make matters worse, her postpartum psychosis was hereditary, meaning that her mental struggles were genetic, and parts of this had now surely started to emerge in Matt. Michelle had actually committed suicide by drowning herself in the pond that is part of the house’s property, and she had walked into the water carrying her baby. While Pol had jumped in soon after, he could only save baby Matt and found no trace of his wife, Michelle. This hereditary postpartum psychosis explains Matt’s own struggles, which he started to show after the birth of his own baby. While it originally seemed like all this was because of his investigation into the chemical factory, it now becomes clear that it was actually the role of becoming a parent that was causing this change in him.
‘Noise’ Ending Explained: What Was The Factory’s Secret? What Happens To Matt And Liv?
The actual truth behind the secret at Pol’s chemical factory was that there had been no secret at all. Ever since the tragic death of his wife, Pol has always been regretful of his decision to save his infant son instead of his wife, and this had a long-lasting effect on the relationship between the father and son. Matt mentions how his father was never satisfied or happy with anything that he did and was always very critical of him. This was directly due to Pol’s feeling that he had lost his wife because of his son, and Matt still yearned for the love and validation of his father. When Pol first shows Matt the abandoned factory doors, the old man does indeed say insignificant and baseless things out of his age-related dementia. But Matt takes all this very seriously and tries to find out a secret in the factory, even though there was never anything like that. Liv’s interactions with the neighbors also make them seem suspicious at first, but their behavior was probably so only because they did not want a new business opening up in the area.
In the end, Matt is convinced that digging up the floor inside his house would reveal a chamber under the factory where the remaining dead bodies are. He starts to work on this accordingly, but instead of any new evidence, it opens up a hole into the waterbed, which is possibly that of the nearby lake. Matt is about to drown in the water when Liv rushes in and tries to help him out. She, too, is pulled in, but ultimately old Pol comes to their rescue, pulling them both out and perhaps mending the relationship between the father and son. After this, Matt and Liv are seen in their house, having settled in, and the two stand on their lawn looking out with clear happiness on their faces. But what exactly happens to Matt’s mental struggles is left undiscussed. He stares at the pond for a few seconds before smiling, perhaps suggesting that he, too, is thinking of drowning himself like his mother had.
“Noise” is a 2023 Belgian Drama Thriller film directed by Steffen Geypens.