Louder Than Bombs (2015) Poster

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Let's don't talk about it
ferguson-628 April 2016
Greetings again from the darkness. Sometimes we just can't "get over it". Three years after a war photographer dies in a suspicious car accident, her husband and two sons find themselves in various states of emotional distress. Everyone deals with guilt in their own way, but these three seem to be doing anything and everything to avoid actually dealing with the emotional fallout.

Writer/director Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31) delivers his first English-speaking film with an assist from co-writer Eskil Vogt and a terrific cast. As we would expect from Mr. Trier, it's a visually stylish film with some stunning images … and the timeline is anything but simple as we bounce from past to present, and from the perspective of different characters (sometimes with the same scene).

The creativity involved with the story telling and technical aspects have no impact whatsoever on the pacing. To say that the film is meticulously paced would be a kind way of saying many viewers may actually get restless/bored with how slowly things move at times. Trier uses this pacing to help us experience some of the frustration and discomfort that each of the characters feel.

Isabelle Huppert plays the mother/wife in some wonderful flashback and dream-like sequences, while Gabriel Byrne plays her surviving husband. Jesse Eisenberg as Jonah, and Devin Druid as Conrad are the sons, and as brothers they struggle to connect with each other … just as the father struggles to connect with each of them. In fact, it's a film filled with characters who lie to each other, lie to themselves, and lie to others. It's no mystery why they are each miserable in their own way. The suppressed emotions are at times overwhelming, and it's especially difficult to see the youngest son struggle with social aspects of high school … it's a spellbinding performance from Devin Druid ("Olive Kitteridge").

Jesse Eisenberg manages to tone down his usual hyper-obnoxious mannerisms, yet still create the most unlikable character in the film … and that's saying a lot. Mr. Byrne delivers a solid performance as the Dad who is quite flawed, and other supporting work is provided by David Strathairn and Amy Ryan. The shadow cast by this woman is enormous and deep … and for nearly two hours we watch the family she left behind come to grips with her death and each other. It's a film done well, but only you can decide if it sounds like a good way to spend two hours.
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Finding light in seemingly overpowering darkness.
Hellmant13 May 2016
'LOUDER THAN BOMBS': Four and a Half Stars (Out of Five)

Insightful drama flick, from Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier (in his English-language film debut). The movie tells the story of a husband, and his two sons, that are trying to cope with the death of the boys' mother. It was directed and co-written by Trier, with Eskil Vogt (Trier's usual writing partner). The film stars Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg, Devin Druid, Isabelle Huppert, David Strathairn and Amy Ryan. It's a really well made movie, and it's also intensely involving.

Isabelle Reed (Huppert) was a very famous, and successful, war photographer; until her death, in a horrible car accident. Gene Reed (Byrne), and his sons, Jonah (Eisenberg) and Conrad (Druid), are still trying to get over her death. It appears as though Isabelle's death was a suicide, and her former coworker, Richard (Strathairn), is about to publish a newspaper article saying so. Gene wants to tell Conrad, who doesn't know this about his mother's passing, before the article is released; but Conrad is becoming increasingly hard for his father to talk to. Jonah recently had a child of his own, and he's just returned home, for the first time in a long while, to spend time with Gene and his depressed brother.

The movie is really well directed, and written, and the performances are all decent as well. It's a really sad story, with very well thought out and realistic characters. What's most impressive about the movie, is how inspiring it is (despite all this). Finding light in seemingly overpowering darkness, is a really hard thing to do; but Trier impressively pulls it off. He also tells the story in a pretty fresh, and unique way too. I really like this film.

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...this film is like a bomb about to explode
CineMuseFilms9 May 2016
Most coming-of-age films lean on the romantic comedy or melodrama for shape and structure, usually with a linear storyline that leads to a metaphorical awakening or some other resolution. As you might expect from a Norwegian director, Louder than Bombs (2015) avoids this well-trodden approach by telling a multi-layered fractured tale that looks more like a thriller than a teen-drama. Adolescents who clam-up tightly to exclude the world while they catch up with its emotional challenges are common stories. The one in this film is like a bomb about to explode and his story forms the narrative spine along which several sub-plots radiate in all directions.

Conrad is an introspective young war-gamer who has closed off to the world since his famous war photographer mother Isabelle was killed three years ago. He keeps to himself at school and defiantly ignores his well-meaning ex-TV star father. A photo exhibition is planned to commemorate Isabelle's work and a former colleague plans an article that will reveal the secret truth of Isabelle's suicide. Conrad has been shielded from this truth, as well as from the affairs of his father and brother. Over-protection has increasingly isolated him until he tries to connect with a girl in class. It's a complex non-liner plot line with several flashbacks that shift across narrative lines to create the visual effect of a perfect storm of fractured people. Isabelle's war images and her memory keep appearing but the battle we are seeing is raging in the minds of those she left behind who struggle to move on with their lives.

The film has an unsettling asymmetrical style about it. You find it in the withholding of truths, in the gender inversion of a war zone mother and a TV soapies father, and in hair-trigger Conrad lashing out in all directions. While the acting is often melodramatic, the filming is edgy with sharp editing cuts and sudden discordant images that feel out of context (like tumbling aerial schoolgirls). It has an uneven but reflective pace that disorients the viewer and leaves them uncertain how the story can hold together. But through the foggy mess of their lives appears hope for better times. More art-house than spoon-fed, the film feels refreshingly free of clichés and leaves you thinking about the impact of distant memories on daily lives.
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A portrait of grief
ReganRebecca4 October 2017
Louder than Bombs is a frustrating movie because it's so beautifully edited and directed but everything about it just falls flat.

The film is about the Reeds, a family made up of a father and his two sons, one an adult starting his own family, the other a teen, who are all coping with the loss of the mother of the family Isabelle, a war photographer who died 4 years earlier. The events in the film are triggered because a retrospective of Isabelle's work is being put on and a friend and journalist writing an article regarding her life warns Isabelle's widow that he plans to be "honest" about the way she died implying that the car crash she died in might not have been accidental after all. The rest of the film follows these three men as they stumble around their lives, reminiscing about the Isabelle they knew and didn't know and struggling to move forward.

It's a very watchable film, but it's also somehow not enough. The struggles of the film feel self-indulgent and it's one of those films where women exist only to be lusted over or listen sympathetically to the men as they talk about their problems and throw tantrums. Even legendary actress Isabelle Huppert, as the ghost that haunts the family, doesn't get much to chew on. The worst part is that it's a movie that isn't easy to write off entirely. The youngest son is a bit of a writer and the way his text is layered over with images leads to some beautiful editing and some true movie magic. It's just a shame that these great moments don't quite live up to what they could have been if they had had strong emotion to back them up.
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Heavy-duty and complex family drama delivers the goods
paul-allaer16 May 2016
"Louder Than Bombs" (2015 release from Norway/France; 109 min.) brings the story of the Reed family. As the movie opens, we see Jonah Red (played by Jesse Eisenberg) in the hospital with his wife and their newborn baby. After the movie's opening credits, we then shift to Isabelle Reed (played by Isabelle Huppert), a NYT was photographer who perished a few years ago and is now the subject of a retrospective. The NYT reporter who worked with her is going to write a long piece on it, and gives a heads up to widower Gene Reed (played by Gabriel Byrne). Finally, we also get to know Conrad Reed, the younger brother of Jonah. Conrad is struggling in high school, and also at home. At this point we're about 15 minutes into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier, whose previous movie, 2011's "Oslo, August 31st" was outstanding. This is his first English language movie, and here Trier dives into a complex family drama. It took me a while to figure out who was who, and what exactly is going on. Perhaps the emotional linchpin of the movie is young Conrad (played by newcomer--for me anyway Devin Druid), who's sulking character at first is not very likable, but as more and more peels of the onion are removed, the Conrad character is developed deeper and fuller. When older brother Jonah urges Conrad to "sit out" the high school years, Conrad nods but of course does the exact opposite... The movie structure for "Louder Than Bombs" is further complicated because of the multiple flashbacks involving Isabelle. And how exactly did she die anyway? This movie reminded me at times of the Robert Redford-directed family drama "Ordinary People" from 1980. In other words: heavy duty stuff. I don't know whether Eisenberg has played a better role in his still relatively young career. He is vulnerable as the older brother and the husband, trying to deal with a lot of things coming at him in life. Also keep your eyes out for a fairly small role from up-and-coming Rachel Brosnahan as Jonah's ex-girlfriend Erin. People sometimes make good choices, sometimes bad choices, "but you can't plan for what happens after you've made a choice", cautions the NYT journalist at one point. There is a lot of good music in the film, both as to the original score composed by Ola Fløttum (unknown to me), and as to other incidental music (including Tangerine Dream's "Love On a Real Train" in a newly re-recorded and extended version).

The theater's Sunday matinée screening where I saw this at this past weekend turned out to be a private screening, as in: I literally was the only person in the theater. That is a darn shame. I recognize that this type of film isn't going to attract big crowds, but not even a small crowd? Jeez... Maybe this movie will find a larger audience on VOD or when it is eventually released on DVD/Blu-ray. Regardless, if you are in the movie for a heavy duty family drama that features some great performances, you cannot go wrong with this. "Louder Than Bombs" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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kyliem1124 April 2016
Saturday night and only 12 people in the theatre to see this movie. Half way through 5 had walked out. Personally I thought it was a good watch, but it won't be to everybody's liking.

A thought provoking, moving story about the effects on a husband and two sons after their wife/mother is killed in a car crash. Good performances by Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg as the husband and older son, but it's Devin Druid that steals the show as Conrad, the younger son, who gives an outstanding performance as a young man filled with grief. Conrad finds it difficult to communicate with his father Gene, but finds some comfort in his writings, while his older brother Jonah is not as nice as he first appears.

Isabelle Huppert plays the mother, who does not feature in the movie very much, but plays a vital part nonetheless.

It's a movie you need to watch and concentrate on, but it's worth the effort.
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Surreal, intimate 'Louder Than Bombs' boils with intensity
cinemacy27 April 2016
Director Joachim Trier makes his English-language debut with the drama Louder Than Bombs, an intimate portrayal of one family's relationship and the struggles they must overcome in the face of death. The film made its debut at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and, coupled with Trier's reputation as an acclaimed filmmaker and visionary, is sure to make waves in the indie/art house film scene.

Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert) a famed photographer who felt most comfortable in war and conflict-ridden areas, was the center of her husband Gene (Gabriel Byrne) and two sons', Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) and teenager Conrad (Devin Druid), world. No one could have predicted that she would leave behind a familial conflict of her own doing after her untimely and suspicious death. Three years after the accident, Isabelle's works are being thrust into the spotlight when a museum in New York City asks to use her photographs for a retrospective gallery installation. Her husband accepts, as he is slowly moving on with his life and sees this as a great opportunity to honor her. However, he discovers that an accompanying New York Times article speculating Isabelle's actual cause of death is set to run simultaneously with the gallery opening, and threatens to expose the devastating truth that Gene was intent on hiding from his youngest son in order to protect him. He has no choice but to enlist his oldest son Jonah to help him get through another painful confrontation.

Louder Than Bombs is an unwavering, head-on look at the human desire for connection and the need to be understood. It's obvious in Conrad's behavior by acting out and alienating himself from his father's attempt to reconnect, as well as in his brother Jonah's promiscuity, even when he has a wife and newborn baby at home. Gene's attempt to bond with his two sons is affected by his own flaws. This humanistic condition for connection is at the forefront of the film and engages the audience into contemplating how and why we act the way we do, focusing on the relationships within our own family.

What sets Louder Than Bombs apart from other films of recent memory are the surreal moments Trier infuses within the story. Disregarding the traditional method of linear storytelling by shifting between the past and the present, these added moments put visuals to feelings that have a hard time being expressed otherwise. They are not the character's dreams, rather, they are daydreams- or what one wonders about without limitations. These moments are hauntingly beautiful and stand out as works of art on their own.

On the acting front, the assembled cast could not have been better. Jesse Eisenberg is fantastic in the role of Jonah, his trademark quick-witted clamor is controlled and even understated, serving as the voice of reason in the film. Gabriel Byrne plays the widowed Gene with sensitivity as a conflicted father trying to navigate his own direction in life, who is not without his own flaws. Devin Druid embodies the angsty, brooding teenager Conrad to such a believable degree while still holding onto the innocence of being a misunderstood child. These, plus the stellar performances from Isabella Huppert, David Strathairn, and Amy Ryan, truly give the film it's footing.

The title- Louder Than Bombs– suggests an epic, grandiose drama, but instead, what Trier creates is a meditative and restrained film that is not at all loud or brash. It is a psychological trip that leads back to the celebration of one's own uniqueness coming together to fulfill the family dynamic. There is no doubt that Joachim Trier took a risk with Louder Than Bombs, but I believe his creative vision has the potential to pay off tenfold.

For more, visit: www.cinemacy.com
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The difficulty of communication and living together
OJT6 October 2015
Acclaimed Norwegian filmmakers Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt has done another profound film which will be talked about in years to come. This film was chosen for the main program at this years Cannes festival, after Trier's last movie was shown in the festivals' "Un certain regard"- program. Joachim Triers granddad, Erik Løchen, participated in the main program with his acclaimed "Jakten"/"The hunt" in 1960, and Lars von Trier is also said to be a distant relative, though I haven't found the proof of that.

In this drama we meet the men, and the woman (Isabelle Huppert) of which their life has circled around. The mother died a couple of years ago in a car accident after colliding with a meeting trailer. The husband (Gabriel Byrne), which is a teacher, and the two sons has moved on, and we come into their lives when there is to be a memorial exhibition for her, when the oldest son (Jesse Eisenberg) just see his first kid being born at the hospital, and the youngest (Devin Druid) is seemingly living in his own world and in the video games he plays.

The film must be interpreted by each viewer, and will mean different thing to each one giving time to this film, but I would say the film is about awareness in your own life, as well as the difficulty in living together with other persons, especially if you don't have the communication needed.

The film is also from time to time bringing you into the thought of all the main persons, and especially into the youngest son's stream of consciousness of weird thoughts. The three men communicate, but are all keeping secrets from each other. These secrets seem more or less profound for each of them, and are all stories which should be told. How this all unravels is the excitement and tension of the film.

Well, go watch it! The film has capability to both be life changing and food for thought, and I liked it on that basis. I was expecting the film to have a stronger emotional impact on me, which disappointed me a little, but it sure will do that to others, depending on life experiences.

The style has obviously been very influenced by several great film makers, amongst them, some of the French masters. An obvious reference to me was Louis Malle's masterpiece "Le feu follet", and Luis Bunuel's "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie", but there's many more.

We've just seen the start of the magic to come out of the friendship between Joachim Trier and fellow script writer and filmmaker Eskil Vogt. I sense there are great films to come out of this cooperation.

Well worth a watch, but don't expect an action movie. Be ready to use your brain.
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Louder Than Batman, Louder Than Melissa, Louder Than Disney....
tkn1001516 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
"Words! Words! Words! We didn't need words then. We had FACES," Forgotten Silent Screen Star Norma Desmond rages on in "Sunset Blvd." Norma knew!

Louder Than Bombs is about a family wanting to be together and wanting to be left alone. Norma would be pleased. It has FACES! Gabriel's, Isabelle's, Jesse's, Devin's, David's, Amy's and Megan's. An acting ensemble as good as David O. Russell's without the Botox of Big Fame. Director Joachim Trier likes FACES and understands and loves complicated families. Mr. Trier lets us be a part of this one.

Isabelle Huppert is their beautiful flawed dead Mom. I was worried I wouldn't see enough of her great real face, but she was the family nucleus, loved, missed, needed, and in the way. Gabriel Byrne is the loving, screwing-up Dad, a not-too-bright ex-actor with bad instincts toward his career and his wife and sons. Jesse Eisenberg (who gets quieter and deeper in each part and says "interesting" better than anybody)and Devin Druid (oh boy, watch out!) both damaged by Mom and Dad's fear and selfishness, are older and younger brothers. You must see these fine young actors before they disappear into Hero Wear and computer graphics.

Louder Than Bombs is brilliant hard work. The viewer is allowed to feel fear, resentment, rage, selfishness, heartache and love. And laugh. Remember those? See it.
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Louder Than Bombs, Blows.
FallenEye5 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
No likable characters, or at least, all the male characters - Jonah, Gene and Conrad, which were the leads really, are really not all that personable.

The characters are somewhat irritating, and their inability to communicate with each other extends all the way past the fourth wall, to the viewer.

It's very difficult to feel empathy for an adulterer, a disrespectful weirdo and a spineless man. Sympathy maybe, but, empathy was just too arduous.

And sure, Louder Than Bombs was attempting a portrayal of raw and actual real life experience in front of a camera... But sadly, real life can be quite boring to watch.

I do however like that Jonah gave Conrad the advice he gave him about his (Conrad) love interest, that Conrad narrated that his love interest would forget about him the next day after their early morning walk and that Gene and Hannah's relationship ended the way it did, because all of that, like it or not, is usually how life turns out for the average man, and Louder Than Bombs didn't uncharacteristically abandon that sad truth.

But, this film was a bit taxing, though, it had all the best intentions. 5/10.
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Just a little too sir real for my taste.
subxerogravity12 April 2016
I think the synopsis I read took me in the wrong direction. It was focus on Gabriel Byrne playing a man who lost his wife, a photojournalist, and is piecing together more info being uncovered on his wife's dead. That was a small part of a bigger emotional story that went over all those involved when a person commits suicide.

The filmmaker used a very unconventional narrative to paint the picture of what would cause a person who seems to have a perfect existence commit suicide and everyone's attempt to figure out the same thing.

It was like a Terrence Malick film, just running with emotion, but without the beautiful cinematography.

The dialog is not saying much, it seems to be more about how characters are reacting towards each other. It's more realistic than just straight up telling the story, which is cool.

I must admit though, I did not understand Jesse Eisenberg's role in this movie at all. He plays the son who seems good on the outside, but a terrible one in the inside, a role he played well, but what purpose did this element really have in the movie, I do not known.

On the flip side, the character of Conrad, the youngest son, was the most interesting person to follow. The life of a teenage wreck coming apart after his mother's death was done dramatically, and so emotionally bankable.

I did understand the emotional connection Louder Than Bombs is trying to lay down on me, but I did not find it all that interesting to watch. mostly Just long and dull.
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avtiger19 April 2016
This was one of the worst films i've seen in a long time. The direction was all over the map, i found very little sympathy for the characters, particularly the two young boys. The acting was not very strong. The movie was also way too dramatic and overdone. I'm just not clear what the director was trying to convey exactly? I blame most of the issues with the Director. This is unfortunately a very bad movie and not worth purchasing a ticket for admission. I'm sure this movie will be gone from the theatres very soon. Word of mouth will send this film too Net Flick soon. Wait for a rental and even then i'm not sure this film is even worth a rental. It truly is that bad. Two Thumbs Down....Way, Way Down!
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Boring, mediocre and frozen
First_Name_Last_Name31 December 2016
Trier's English-languaged debut has been praised by many, but NOT by me. This is the essence of mediocrity: forgettable, not moving, not interesting, not dramatic. There is really no point to this. The cinematography is beautiful, the editing is quite inspired and interesting, but the script is awfully bland and the otherwise fantastic actors and actresses are wasted and utilized in a horrid way. Eisenberg is just plain old Eisenberg; Byrne can't save his character; and worst of all: Huppert is reduced to a boring character with no real depth or energy. It's all so incredibly lame. There are a few subplots in it, but it doesn't feel like it has a real plot or story that can drive the additions. Besides, the entire thing with the youngest son is that he likes to play Skyrim and he writes bad poetry that brings him success with a girl (realistic much??). This entire premise is horrible and made me sad for whoever wrote this uninspired crap: it's a big bowl of nothing. It's worse than nothing, it's boring, a void, a complete waste of time and Huppert. I hated it and almost couldn't finish it. Besides, a bunch of morals to the story did bother me: none of the characters are likable, but I feel like they were meant to be. The journey is not a journey, but a stagnant and static group of characters in a dull setup. It's not bad. It's just mediocre. Incredibly mediocre. Normally, the quite impressive productive forces behind a movie like this can make it count, but this one will be forgotten completely in five years - only remembered by the handful of people that could relate to one of the characters. I couldn't... Five out of ten. And maybe four on a bad day.
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"Louder than Bombs" makes very little noise and has almost nothing to say.
dave-mcclain16 May 2016
Families in crisis. Movies which explore that topic can be difficult to watch, but can also reaffirm what is important about family and suggest how we and our loved ones might move forward when confronted with difficult times. Of course, there are many different kinds of crises that can be portrayed on film. Some of these family dramas revolve around the death of a family member (e.g., Best Picture Oscar Winners "Ordinary People" and "Terms of Endearment", plus "A Cry in the Dark", "Steel Magnolias", "The Descendants", "Still Alice"). Other times we see families battling an existential threat ("The Impossible", "San Andreas", "No Escape"). Often the family crisis doesn't have to do with anybody dying, but with the family unit splitting apart due to issues like divorce (Best Picture Oscar Winner "Kramer vs. Kramer", "The War of the Roses", "Mrs. Doubtfire", "Liar, Liar"), crime ("The Godfather", "Raising Arizona", "Running on Empty", "Falling Down", "Road to Perdition") or just because they forgot what it means to be a family ("The Story of Us", "American Beauty", "Winter's Bone"). The drama "Louder than Bombs"(R, 1:49) has things in common with several of the films mentioned above.

Noted war photographer Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert) died near her New York home when the car she was driving collided head-on with an 18-wheeler. A few years later, her widowed husband, high school teacher Gene Reed (Gabriel Byrne), and his sons, teenager Conrad (Devin Druid) and college professor Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) are still struggling to move on from Isabelle's death. Gene is in his first post-Isabelle romantic relationship with a fellow teacher named Hannah (Amy Ryan), while working hard to connect emotionally with Conrad, who has become very surly and emotionally withdrawn (even for a teenager). Jonah lives out of state where his wife has just had their first child, but he comes home for an extended visit to help his dad finally sort through Isabelle's things in her photographic dark room.

A museum is planning a retrospective of Isabelle's work and a family friend (David Strathairn) who works at the museum, is writing an article for the New York Times to promote the exhibit, all of which forces the Reeds to relive their memories of Isabelle and her tragic death. As we see flashbacks of Isabelle's life and relationship with her family, tensions rise among the three Reed men in the present. Conrad clearly still has unprocessed feelings regarding his mother and there's something about his mother's death that his father has never told him. As Gene struggles with that secret and with his inability to talk to his younger son, he is trying to keep his romance with Hannah a secret… and also learns about some things that his deceased wife had kept secret from him. Like his father, Jonah also learns some surprising things about his mother, struggles with his feelings and the secrets he is keeping, does his best to reach out to Conrad (a little more successfully than his father), and he secretly gets involved with a local woman.

"Louder than Bombs" is depressing and unsatisfying. In tone, it's like "Ordinary People" (but not as touching), in content, it resembles "The Descendants" (but not as entertaining) and in its storytelling, it reminds me of "Knight of Cups" (but not as creative). What we have here is a story filled with unlikeable characters who have very little personality, cavalierly lie and commit other indiscretions and seem unable or unwilling to look beyond their own self-interest. The lessons about family bonds are only faintly sketched and even the title has very little meaning. "D+"
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Slow, pretentious, boring mess - too many long pauses.
emuir-110 July 2017
Attracted by a good cast, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, David Strathairn, I checked this film out of the library. Not since 'Elivra Madigan' in the 60's have I endured such a boring film. After 20 minutes of suffering through long pauses and slow responses between characters speaking to each other, I fast forwarded to the end. Not only did the pauses of at least two seconds, which in a conversation is an eternity, especially as one character is totally immobile while the other fiddles with her hair, grimaces, puts her hand up to her mouth, lips tremble and whatever else she learned at the school of bad acting.

I enjoy foreign language films and am happy with a slow pace if it engrosses me, but this did not hold my attention for even five minutes. If they had trimmed the conversational pauses, and the characters standing stock still for no reason, they could have lopped an hour off the film, or at least filled in more dialog. I should have been warned by the blurb on the box which spoke of the dysfunctional family of a deceased woman each trying to reconcile their emotions and deal with her death in their own way. I will know better next time.

When did all this hair chewing, hand wringing, voice trembling and verbal stumbling, or rigid immobility, begin to pass for acting? I watch films of the 40's and 50's which had none of this, yet it seems everywhere these days. The high school girl unable to read words of more than one syllable (or was it more than three letters) without stumbling as the camera stayed on her for five minutes. Was this a school for developmentally handicapped teenagers?

The other thing which annoyed the heck out of me, but this may be my age, was the apologetic father who let his younger son get away with foul mouthed insolence when he should have smacked that out of him a long time ago. It was not Gene's fault that his son was a brat. I never want to see another film where parents take the blame for the bad behavior of their children.

My overall opinion: a pretentious time waster.
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Life and death are at conflict
cekadah9 May 2016
After watching this film my first reaction was that the story isn't about the family (father, sons, wife) and their emotional needs but about what the mothers photographs fails to convey and emanate to the viewer.

In this movie it is easy to empathize and sympathize with the family's tragic loss of their mother, the solitude and loneliness felt by the youngest son Conrad, the fathers need for companionship and to communicate with someone his own age and the frustration he feels because Conrad seems to have rejected him, and the oldest son Jonah having to juggle the death of his mother and being a new father and far away from his wife and newborn. Life and death are at conflict here! These are moving talking people; we see them as living beings. BUT in the mothers photography we are only given still images of people who are suffering and unable to communicate with the viewer outside of the viewers imagination. Still images cannot have the same effect as moving talking living beings.

The mothers photography showing the dispossessed and their pained faces and suffering bodies becomes art. Pleasure can be found in art! But in real life pain accompanies pleasure. A two dimensional photo of people in distant locals cannot be louder than bombs. Only the living and daily life can be louder than bombs.

This film is so finely crafted, scripted, acted, that endless discussion can be made from it.
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Quite a decent film
bbewnylorac12 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Louder Than Bombs is a very earnest film that ultimately succeeds because its heart is in the right place. All the actors are very convincing in their portrayal as a close family that is devastated when the mother Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert) dies. Previously, she had suffered emotional conflict from being a very successful war photographer and having to combine that with motherhood and home life. As her damaged younger son Conrad, actor Devin Druid utterly steals the movie from his more experienced co-stars including Gabriel Byrne as his Dad and Jesse Eisenberg as his much older brother, Jonah. Druid conveys a keen intelligence but also depression, isolation, and trying to work out his problems on his own. A really demanding role and he succeeds beautifully. Gabriel Byrne has a fairly easy role as a very caring father who doesn't know how to handle Conrad's behaviour. Eisenberg's role is not as defined as Druid's -- Jonah's wife has just had a baby, Jonah has an affair, he tries to catalogue his mother's photographs but to me it didn't amount to much. Contrary to the film's title, there isn't a lot in the movie about Isabelle's work in war torn countries. I guess the movie is more about grief - about how the three men aren't coping at first, and how they eventually learn to cope. Special mention to a a smaller but lovely role from Ruby Jerins, playing Conrad's love interest Melanie. Jerins had a strong part as the nurse's troubled daughter in the TV series Nurse Jackie, and here she plays the quintessential flawed teenager very well.
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Decent acting, but failed to grip me....
wildsparrow167 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I did not experience the powerful emotions that I am sure this movie was meant to elicit. There are probably a few reasons for this. First of all, there was not enough history to the characters - what made them tick? What were they like before her death? What about her? Was the depression always there or did her travels bring it on? Secondly, with the exception of Byrne, the characters were not likable (perhaps if we had more history, we could like them more by understanding them more). The sons were just horrible - I get grief - I have been there. But you don't spit in your teacher's face because she is dating your Dad, who deserves some tiny bit of light in his dark life while trying to raise his troubled boys alone. You don't cheat on your wife who just gave birth - you just don't - even if she is a nag. Lastly, you don't kill yourself when you have a family who loves you - it is the ultimate selfish act under these circumstances - more selfish than cheating on your hubby (oh, you did that, too). Byrne was the only one who walked away with my sympathies.
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A family in the grief, at a different level.
Reno-Rangan24 August 2016
A multi-nationally produced film, especially you can call it a European product, but an English language film that takes place in the New York. The story of a husband and two sons of the famed war photographer who recently died in a car crash. So the film is focused to tell how they are going to cope with their loss, especially the little brother who has differences with his father. They all kind of drifted away from each other, but without an alternate they have to come together to go through it.

This is not a usual mourning theme, but sometimes I felt they forgot they're in mourning. Because the narration quickly shifts to various topics like the birth of a child, a new affair and trying to impress the girl whom the boy has a crush. So with all this, I completely witnessed a different type of film than what it had said. That's not bad, just a refreshing and with constant moving back and forth in in time to disclose some key events.

Mainly the portrayal splits into three to cover those three family members and each has its own specialty. Something like a film for older people, middle-aged and teens, all the these contents smartly joined together. Apart from the good show from the cast, the director did his best as usual, but this is not up to the par with his other works. For a watch this film definitely would do good. Since it's not a Hollywood, you won't have to worry about American film clichés, because it was developed much better and ends better.

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An Interesting Story Filled with Great Actors and Characters
SquigglyCrunch2 May 2016
Louder than Bombs follows a family three years after their mother/wife dies as an article is going to be written about her for an exhibit. The family (a father and two sons) are united and have their fair share of troubles and problems together.

The plot is good. I wouldn't say it sounds horribly interesting, and it's kind of difficult to describe. In actuality, it's really just a few guys who are trying to make things work but they're all just living life mostly. I like movies about simply living life, however, and this one is no exception. The story is interesting, and presented in an interesting way.

The characters are the clear driving force, and they are great. All the actors are very good, and their characters are more engaging than you'd think. At first glance some of them may appear one- dimensional, like they're defined by a couple traits, but they all feel like there's something more too them. Some are a little weird, especially the character of Conrad, but his character is also one of the deepest, and the most explored or focused on. Everyone else has stuff going on, but not all of it is always focused on. The characters are all pretty realistic in this way and many others. You'll just have to see it to really understand.

Overall Louder than Bombs is really great. The story is simple but provides for some interesting characters and drama, and the characters certainly are great. In the end I'd recommend this movie.
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Louder Than Bombs might not be loud or explosive, but it certainly packs a punch.
TheMovieDiorama24 February 2018
Another quiet indie drama that went under the radar, its unfortunate really because these low key films have some of the best cinematography out there. A famous modern war photographer, who uses pictures of conflict to express the damage of warfare, is killed in a car accident. The remaining family members must go through her unpublished work for a final article, to which becomes more of a personal journey for them all. Essentially it's another drama about grief, an all too familiar concept that is completely saturated with depressing dramas. This one is no different, but it's execution sets it apart from the basic example. Each family member goes through grief in their own different way. The husband remains tranquil and yearns to communicate more with his sons. The eldest son cheats on his wife with his ex-girlfriend. The youngest son shuts himself off from the world in solitude, continually playing video games and being apart from others. It didn't feel artificial, in fact I thought these characters were perhaps some of the most realistic I've seen in a drama of this type for quite some time. Then we find out that the wife also isn't exactly perfect, and so we have ourselves a broken imperfect family. The problem with that, it's not exactly exciting. Various scenes of just characters staring into the distance as internal narration takes over. A decision that perhaps over stylised the narrative, to a point where it felt too glossy and superficial. I wanted the plot to delve deeper into their emotions, a few more outbursts and some powerhouse scenes. Alas, the tone remained calm throughout which I can also appreciate. Director Trier does utilise a competent cast to deliver the emotional captivation. Huppert's small screen time felt everlasting. Eisenberg gave another understated performance. Druid surprisingly held the film together. A novelistic approach that just can't quite reach the heights of sophistication.
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metta115 February 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I found it very hard to follow this movie. Slow moving, out of sync. Who is that character? Is it past or present? I fast forwarded through a lot of scenes that were not necessary to film like long walks and drives. The youngest son, was he ever told of his mom's suicide? Was it a suicide? It made me feel uncomfortable throughout.
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One of the very rare occasions I disliked a movie so much that I refused to watch til the end.
Boristhemoggy18 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
There are some that say you cannot review a film unless you have watched it throughout. The main reason given is that you can't judge a film on just one part of it's journey, but you must judge it on it's whole, which includes where it ended up. I disagree with that. Very strongly.

A film is a visual story, and a story has to have elements that make sense. It does not have to be linear, it can jump around time and it can mix events up, but what it must do is engage you. Even when you don't fully understand what is going on, it must engage you. My opinion is that if you watch 20 minutes of a movie and it has not engaged you within that time, it does not matter where it ends, or how it ends, or what it's message is: it has failed as a story because it was not able to engage you to the point you wanted to continue to watch.

That's how I feel about Louder Than Bombs. We begin by finding out about a photographer who killed herself, perhaps as a consequence of her experiences during conflict. But in the first 20 minutes of the movie, that's all we learned. There was nothing more except confusion, disjointed scenes that never made a whole and no guesses could patch a story together that might explain random actions such as the son throwing himself on a complete strangers grave.

The lack of explanation, the lack of cohesion and continuance, the lack of flow of the story and the total lack of engagement says to me that the film maker wanted to make the scenes for his own benefit, and not to tell a story that others could enjoy. The purpose of stories is to entertain others, and too many film makers don't do that. They are trying too hard to make people think that their movie is 'arty' in some way, or profound in it's wisdom, when the truth is they are self absorbed fantasies which hold little interest for most people. Why should I indulge someone for a full 20 minutes if they won't indulge me?

The story as far as I watched it was confusing, irrational, disjointed, unintelligible, unengaging and even irritating. By the time I got to the girls' monologue at about the 18 minute mark I got incredibly frustrated and annoyed at her awful reading voice stumbling over simple words, the nonsensical words she read for almost a full 5 minutes, and the completely irrational and unexplained thoughts that Conrad was having during that reading. It was at that point that I decided that I would not watch the movie in it's entirety. If I did, and even if I enjoyed the ending, not only did I not enjoy the whole journey but it irritated and angered me to the point that I resent being made to feel that way in order to be given a meaty treat at the end.

There should be a range of emotions brought out from a good story but they should stem from the story, they should not include anger, boredom and consternation at the storyteller.

So, Louder Than Bombs, highly considered by some to be profound, to me is a very badly scripted movie that does not competently tell a story and distances the viewer to the point the story becomes irrelevant. I'd give it no stars, 0 out of 10 if I could but the lowest IMDb allows is 1. Absolute rubbish film making and story telling and a waste of the 20 minutes I spent on it.

It's telling that from an $11,000,000 budget it made only $160,000.
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A history been taken care of... with a surreal touch.
stonedraim6 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
**** May contain strong spoilers ****

This is a review made by StoneDraim... and that means that if you want to read a probably different kind of review, keep reading....

This is my personal experience, my personal point of view/perspective and my personal opinion... and my opinion is just one of like 7 billions in this world.

A moment in time out of perspective of a family in pain. The writer have written a screenplay that goes into the natural things and causes that happens in life. How life can twist around and make people do things in a different kind of way.... if there is a "different kind".

Jesse Eisenberg shows that he can act in a more subtle and emotionally way than before. In this one he grasps the difficult role of an and brother in between family matters well. Gabriel Byrne struggles in a fashionable way to stretch out and give the role of a father, a husband and a mourning human being. He sets the tone well with a distance to all the events in the characters life.

This is a very well made movie in all aspects and highlights the genre drama in a great way. Emotions, thoughts and events blend together and forces the story forward. It is boring in a fascinating way... or just fascinating in a boring way.

In the end of the movie the story takes off in a way that gives the almost dull experience a push forward and things is developing a little faster. Maybe the movie had to roll out all the time before things got interesting, for the part to be experienced interesting. There are moments within this motion picture that almost feel like a dream... surreal.

Joachim Trier has done a good job making a solid production and a piece of art that will stay in my memory.

Last thing: only watch this movie if you are in a good mood and are up for a heavy and sad drama.

Over to the movie as a product: - The production : Great blend of reality, surreal moments and a delicate use of music. - The actors : Carrying the story. Solid acting... more or less. - The story : Kind of typical family situation that twists with the producers vision of art. Nice. - Entertainment : Sadly... too long and often too irrelevant things for the production to hit off. - Age : Hard. Will the youth be able to grasp this?

6,4 out of 10. (The final rate is based most on my own entertainment of the movie. 7 Well made movie. Proper entertainment. 6 Nice production. Good movie.)
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Indecipherable, aimless drivel
Gordon-1120 January 2017
This film tells the story of a father and his two teenage sons, who core cope with the untimely death of their wife / mother due to a traffic accident. Their grief is further complicated by a breakdown on communication.

I tried very hard to understand the story, but honestly I didn't understand a thing. "Louder Than Bombs" tries to tell a story of a dysfunctional family, but it ends up being an aimless drivel. I have no idea what the story is trying to convey. It jumps between the past and present inexplicably, and there is little continuity and connection between the past and present. And what's the fascination with decomposition of bodies? Those scenes are just plain gross. Perhaps the scenes are there to be provocative, but they simply alienate viewers from the film. Furthermore, it is not interesting to see teenagers sulk all the time. I regret having wasted my time watching this indecipherable collage of scenes.
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