How to watch quirky endtimes vision White Noise in the UK

Are you ready for White Noise? No, not the 2005 supernatural thriller starring Michael Keaton. And no, not the 2020 documentary about the Alt Right movement produced by The Atlantic. We’re talking about Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Tom DeLillo’s award-winning 1985 novel of the same name. That White Noise is streaming on Netflix right this very second.

Adam Driver stars as Professor Jack Gladney, an expert in “Hitler Studies” (a field he founded), whose quotidian concerns about the life he shares with his fourth wife, Babette (Greta Gerwig) and their small horde of precocious kids from numerous prior relationships take a backseat when a massive chemical spill forces them—and everyone else—to evacuate from their small college town, and Jack and Babette’s free-floating death anxiety becomes a lot more pointed.

As things quickly spiral out of control and the whole family find themselves in a quarantine camp, the Gladneys are forced to face their own shortcomings.

As a novel, White Noise is a big, dense, capital-L literary chunk of words, and as such its defied cinematic adaptation for years. At one point James L. Brooks (As Good as it Gets) owned the rights, and still later Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family, Men in Black) was slated to direct, which could have been interesting.  But it seems that Baumbach, reteaming with his While We’re Young and Marriage Story leading man Driver (and his own real-life wife, Gerwig) seems to have cracked it, and his droll, ironic, closely observed style is certainly a good match for the original material.

It’s going to be interesting to see how DeLillo’s satirical jabs at mid-80s American culture and social mores stack up in the 21st century, but given recent events, it’s safe to say the notion of an invisible airborne poison running rampant through the population probably has some kind of cultural resonance.