Alanté Kavaité's Ecoute le Temps is an interesting idea (albeit one not a million miles from White Noise) that never develops into a particularly interesting film. Following the murder of her fortune telling mother, Émilie Dequenne's sound recordist travels to the decaying cottage where she was killed and - luckily having brought her sound equipment with her - after a few uninvolving and underdeveloped encounters with the locals, not only finds her mother's voice on recordings of the creaking house but discovers that by placing the microphone in different parts of the house she can eavesdrop on different parts of her past. As she struggles to build a literal timeline of the recordings so she can isolate the moment of the killing, the film should start to build up some momentum and tension, but the film remains for the most part stuck in its position as disinterested observer, the secrets she gradually uncovers - like the brief glimpses of her troubled relationship with her mother or the local disputes between organic farmers and the local chemical fertilizer magnate - rather underwhelming and underdeveloped, emotionally and viscerally.
While it does capture the cold oppressiveness of many rural communities, unfortunately for a film that revolves around sound, the film doesn't trust sound's ability to create atmosphere, never using it particularly interestingly in an unadventurous sound mix and often flattening it altogether with musique concrete scoring. Nor is there any mystery in the recordings, which are dutifully conveyed largely as flashbacks: it's almost as if Coppola decided The Conversation would be so much better if you could understand every word from the start. There's no ambiguity in its soundscape, no questioning of the senses from its heroine - what you hear and see is what you get. As a result, you have a leading character whose job is recording wildtrack sound for atmosphere in a film that has a tough time drawing much atmosphere from its premise, let alone thrilling or chilling in the process, and one where you can't help feeling that for once a remake could actually improve upon significantly.