White Noise: Baumbach’s Satire Kicks Off the 60th Edition of the New York Film Fest

White Noise Kicks Off the N.Y. Film Fest at its 60th Anniversary

Noah Baumbach’s latest Netflix film is unlikely to get Best Picture Oscar nomination, unlike his last one, Marriage Story, which did, but it could still earn nominations in some technical categories.

The 60th New York Film Fest kicked off Friday night with White Noise, the film that had previously opened the Venice Film Fest, Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel of the same title.

The satire about existential angst stars Baumbach’s two most frequent muses, Adam Driver (Frances HaWhile We’re YoungThe Meyerowitz StoriesMarriage Story) and Greta Gerwig (GreenbergFrances HaMistress America), who’s Baumbach’s real-life partner.

In a year in which the Oscar race is wide open, there are hopes for critical and Academy recognition for an original project whose budget is close to $100 million.

Netflix is behind the opening night film, three years after it had scored with Scorsese’s The Irishman at the NYFF.

The film contains some dry humor and sight gags, like Driver sporting a forehead-raising wig and a notable paunch.

The story features recurrent subjects in Baumbach’s cinematic world: academia, pretentiousness, neuroticism.

The tone is variable. One sequence evokes memories of National Lampoon’s Vacation, while other scenes feel like Woody Allen or Wes Anderson.

At 136 minutes, the film feels too long, but it has enough entertaining winning moments to make it worthwhile,

Take, for exam0le, a hilarious exchange in which Jack, a “Hitler Studies” professor, and a colleague (Don Cheadle), engage in dueling monologues highlighting similarities between Hitler and Elvis.

Then there’s end-credits sequence that serves as a release after the heaviness of what leads up to it, unfolding to the tune of “New Body Rhumba,” a catchy original song by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy.

While not a Best Picture contender, it still may receive Oscar nominations in adapted screenplay, original song, original score, and production design.