Review: ‘In Pursuit of Silence,’ a Guide to Tuning Out the Racket
“In Pursuit of Silence” isn’t what you would call a well-rounded or intellectually rigorous documentary — it’s too messianic for that — but it is an interesting one. Partly inspired by George Prochnik’s 2010 book of the same title, this elegant sermon by Patrick Shen on why we should dial down the racket of our daily lives will make you consider turning off and tuning out.
Gathering academics, audiologists and other experts who share his anticacophony view, Mr. Shen aims to show that excessive sound can negatively affect our bodies as well as our minds. His style is compare-and-contrast: rural versus urban, the natural world versus the electronic and synthetic. Tranquil scenes from an Iowa monastery and a national park give way jarringly to the metallic din in a subway station and the deafening clamor of a restaurant. A visit to Mumbai (believed to be the noisiest city in the world) will leave your ears ringing.Go Back