Written and directed by Jonathan Davies, Topology of Sirens (2021) is a soft and inviting mystery enveloped in lush, hypnotic soundscapes and driven gently forward through naturalistic dialogue. When amateur musician Cas (Courtney Stephens) discovers a vintage hurdy-gurdy of unknown provenance—and a set of mysterious microcassettes etched with strange symbols—in the home that she inherited from her aunt, she sets out on a languid quest to uncover the truth.
As her journey unfolds, Cas seeks answers and guidance from local musicians Sarah (Sarah Davachi) and Whitney (Whitney Johnson), her father (Jeff Kober), an employee at the local television station (Mark Toscano), the owner of a niche musical instrument shop (Curtis Berak), and an aloof but knowing estate manager (Suzan Crowley) who presents Cas with a mysterious gift. Each encounter reveals a new clue—and offers a new opportunity for quiet contemplation.
The world created by cinematographer/editor Carson Lund and production designer Erik Lund is simultaneously dreamy and grounded in realism, with gorgeous natural lighting illuminating vibrant greenery, vintage instruments, and other cozy cottagecore accents. Former music supervisor Davies’s flawless sound design lovingly showcases both the film’s experimental music and its rich environmental soundscapes. The deliberate, almost meditative pacing creates ample space for extended aural explorations—the final sequence featuring the titular sirens (played by Samantha Robinson and Langley Hemingway), contains no dialogue at all. Topology of Sirens is my new Sunday afternoon comfort movie, best served with a mason jar full of iced tea.