The Brit-in-Italy scenario gets an emphatically grungy makeover in “Berberian Sound Studio,” a twisted tribute to analog moviemaking and 1970s Italian Giallo horror flicks. Toby Jones plays the innocent abroad — not a traveler headed for a romantic thaw in the Mediterranean sun but a sound engineer who never sees the light of day and who’s headed for — or perhaps already in the midst of — a mental unraveling.
Jones’ reserved Englishman, Gilderoy, has been hired to oversee the soundtrack mix on “The Equestrian Vortex,” a piece of psycho-erotic exploitation chock-full of evil priests, tortured witches, secret libraries and the requisite poultry tunnel. Whatever artistic flair on Gilderoy’s part led the filmmakers to hire him, at the studio he’s instantly cast in the role of accountant-like functionary, out of his depths amid the loonies — the hectoring producer, the angry actress, the uncommunicative Foley artists and the pretentious director who insists he’s making a work of historical truth.
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BERBERIAN SOUND STUDIO
Not rated: suspense and horror elements
In English and Italian with English subtitles.
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes.
Now playing: Area theaters