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Noises off: Peter Sarsgaard in ‘The Sound of Silence’ 

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Peter Sarsgaard’s low-key portrayal of a “house tuner” dominates The Sound of Silence, a wry character study that marks the feature debut of director/co-writer Michael Tyburski, and is based on the short film that he made earlier with co-writer/producer Ben Nabors.

Sarsgaard’s Peter Lucian has fashioned a unique career for himself, replete with a profile in The New Yorker, diagnosing aural anomalies in people’s homes. With his latest client, Ellen Chasen (Rashida Jones), the problem seems to emanate from her kitchen toaster, so he sends her a new one.

Like Peter Lucian himself, The Sound of Silence moves at its own meticulous, even peculiar, pace. Even running only 85 minutes, it’s not exactly fast-moving – but it’s not boring, either. This is one film where the term “quirky” is perfectly applicable, as it revels in both the sights and (especially) the sounds of New York City.

It’s also nice to see Sarsgaard in a star turn, and he invests the film with a quietly wounded dignity and pride. Living in a converted nuclear fallout shelter – all the better to keep the outside noise where it belongs – Peter is so consumed by his work and his perceived importance of it that he’s hardly aware that he’s losing connection with the world around him. Only at the end does he realize that Ellen could possibly be a way to reconnect with the rest of humanity – and himself.

– The Sound of Silence opens Friday.

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