The common consensus is that whatever you may think of Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, a dryly farcical ‘80s period drama set in an Ohio college town, the final sequence — an ambitiously choreographed dance sequence featuring shoppers at an A & P supermarket — is the highlight.
The sequence affirms the film’s basic theme about nearly everyone turning to all kinds of distractions (including food) to avoid contemplating their own mortality.
Though brilliantly staged, the dance number is undercut by Baumbach’s decision to use it as a closing credits backdrop. Here’s how I put it to a friend:
“The LCD Soundsystem ‘New Body Rumba’ finale could have been great if Baumbach hadn’t decided to overlay it with closing credits. I almost shouted out loud ‘Oh no!! He’s blowing it!!’
“I’m saying this because once the credits begin we instantly disengage as we tell ourselves ‘okay, the movie’s over so the aisle–dancing is just a colorful bit, a spirit-picker-upper…whatever.’
“If Baumbach hadn’t given us permission to disengage, the dancing could have been wild and mind-blowing in a surreal Luis Bunuel-meets-Pedro Almodovar way. It could have been a mad slash across a wet-paint canvas…a Gene Kelly consumer-orgy crescendo.
And then it could have segued into a closing credit crawl. Alas…