Eye For Film >> Movies >> Louder Than Bombs (2015) Film Review
Louder Than Bombs
Reviewed by: Richard Mowe
Norwegian director Joachim Trier, who was greeted warmly for his first two features, Reprise and Oslo, August 31st, flounders a bit with his first English language effort about a family in turmoil after the death in a car crash of the mother, a celebrated war and conflict photographer.
She is played by Isabelle Huppert whose character, in the aftermath of her demise, is accorded a major retrospective of her work in New York. Putting her in the spotlight prompts the reopening of old emotional wounds and issues for her two bereaved teenage sons and her husband (Gabriel Byrne).
With shades of the angst-ridden tone of American Beauty (but not enough), Trier has difficulty holding it all together as he examines themes of grief, parenting, family, and coming of age.
In particular, the death affects the younger teenager (played with considerable insight to his generation by newcomer Devin Druid), while his older sibling (Jesse Eisenberg) is just as confused and bewildered as he copes from afar with the birth of his first child. The scene at the hospital when the baby is born opens the film - and provides a jaunty start as he sets off to look for food for his ravenous wife only to meet an ex-girlfriend there to tend to her mother.
Watching Byrne, as the father, trying to understand and empathise with his offspring has the ring of truth yet as ensemble piece, the film lacks conviction.
Huppert, as always, strikes a strong presence but her role is woefully under-written - and her death in the car crash just shortly after she decides to pull back from frontline photography smacks of a narrative convenience.
There are more revelations in store when it is revealed that a former photographer colleague played by David Strathairn has been having an affair with her, proving that sometimes you may know least about the ones you purport to love.
Certainly it has a visual flair that keeps the pace fluid but the problems are more to do with its inconsistencies and unresolved threads.Reviewed on: 18 May 2015
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