224 – White Noise

Jonathan Rivers (Michael Keaton) suddenly becomes a widower when his wife dies. Soon after, he’s approached by a Dr. Price, an expert in Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP), who claims he’s been receiving messages from Jonathan’s departed wife Anna via sundry electronic gadgets. Is Anna trying to tell Jonathan something? Is this merely a hint of something on a larger cosmic or otherworldly scale?

It’s good to see Keaton in a leading role, but the story he’s stuck with is convoluted and absurd at points; it’s as if the movie doesn’t know how to answer any of the questions it brings up, so it just distracts the viewer with new, unrelated questions.

Keaton himself is pretty good, convincingly cast as the bereaving widower desperately trying to communicate with his late wife. He’s matured quite a bit as an actor, leaving behind the frat-friendly wacky-hijinks roles he played 15 or so years earlier. He looks a little craggy, with a perhaps few more wrinkles than one might expect, but he’s lost none of the guile and panache that he’s shown during his quarter century in Hollywood.

So it’s not that Keaton turns in a mediocre performance, it’s that the script itself is subpar. Written by Niall Johnson, the plot gets more confusing as it progresses, each tortuous path ending in another tortuous path. This is all well and good if the path leads to some sort of acceptable denoument, something that ties more or less everything together and explains… something. But not White Noise; I knew less about what had happened to Jonathan than I did before I’d first seen him.

Keaton’s really the only reason to watch this junk, although he gets fine support from Ian McNeice (as Dr. Price) and Deborah Kara Unger as the requisite love interest.

White Noise: **

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