Louder Than Bombs Screen 24 articles

Louder Than Bombs

2015

Louder Than Bombs Poster
  • If viewed in a different context, Louder Than Bombs would probably grate a whole lot less, there's nothing so very wrong with making a trendy middlebrow star vehicle that will at least recoup its budget. But in the harsh glare of the competition spotlight, it's hard not to wonder whether that's really enough.

  • Beautifully shot by Jakob Ihre and with a score by Ola Fløttum that veers between discreet and propulsive as the mood demands, Louder than Bombs is emotionally intelligent and certainly holds the attention, particularly during the first 30 minutes, but ultimately fails to live up to its initial promise.

  • This is the stuff of unapologetic melodrama, artfully structured in such a way that the rotating stories inform and enhance each other even when only one character is in focus: absence is a presence, and that doesn't refer only to the missing mother in the family. Yet the emotional conclusions here can be a little pat, and catharsis too easily come by. It's more cautiously sound-proofed than its title implies. Only when Huppert's on screen does the film feel it could detonate at any moment.

  • The movie dances across chronology. It has ideas and curiosity about human behavior. It’s got Huppert finding a warm, maternal way to play an alluringly chilly woman and Eisenberg continuing not to mind using his intelligent demeanor to inflict slights. It’s fun and sad and formally beautiful. What it’s not is complete. After an hour, that not knowing where to put these people and ideas forces the movie into clichés to which it’s otherwise superior.

  • Louder than Bombs is Trier’s English-language debut, which has often proved a detrimental move for foreign directors. Language, however, isn’t the problem. Rather, it seems that in writing their script Trier and Vogt were overwhelmed by the challenge of representing a milieu outside of their personal experience. So many elements are strict clichés of Americana, overfamiliar from innumerable films and TV shows.

  • In Louder Than Bombs, the young Norwegian director Joachim Trier (Reprise) brings his signature empathetic intelligence to the somewhat Sundance-y material of a bourgeois family paralyzed by grief.

  • Despite an aesthetic approach that is outwardly similar to Trier’s previous film, Louder than Bombs does not live up to its predecessor’s promise. Where Oslo elicited a warm empathy with its characters, the new film has such a gelid detachment from its subject matter that the work comes across as positively cadaverous.

  • It’s ironic that a film thematically obsessed with closure provides so little to its audience. Trier sets his screenplay down several divergent pathways with a myopic, impatient focus, leaving several plot digressions completely unresolved.

  • Ultimately, the film is loaded with too many themes that can’t be unified in any satisfying way. Indeed, Louder Than Bombs is an apt title for a drama so disorganized and fraught with bombast. There are enough emotionally intelligent fragments to lure you in during the film’s more ambiguous first half, but Trier pushes the bathos until it simply becomes too clamorous by half.

  • It can’t seem to choose whether or not it wants to commit to being the straightforward kind of drama it is, or something more abstract, digressive, and fragmented, telling a story through an accumulation of small moments. The film’s structure seems to suggest it would rather be the latter, but its tonal and structural shifts simply muddle the film instead of making it consistently, believably sad.

  • Like the drug addict in Trier’s 2011 Oslo, August 31st, the war photographer in Louder Than Bombs wrestles to reconcile her private and public selves. Trier only gives us glimpses of her quotidian hell but Huppert’s quietly suffering face says it all, perpetuating the terrors of war in the offscreen space. There is beauty to be found in this solemn tribute, but such dignified souls deserve deeper exploration.

  • Sight & Sound: Nick Pinkerton
    April 01, 2016 | May 2016 Issue (pp. 84, 86)

    The use of the name Conrad suggests a possible homage to Robert Redford's Ordinary People (1980), but the final product lands somewhere between that decorous, undeniably moving family drama and Jason Reitman's startlingly misjudged entry in the way-we-live-now sweepstakes, Men, Women & Children (2014).

  • Turns out the best Arnaud Desplechin movie at Cannes isn’t the one directed by Arnaud Desplechin. The French filmmaker’s eclectic influence is all over Louder Than Bombs (Grade: B+), Joachim Trier’s sensitive and complicated English-language debut, about a suburban New York family still struggling with the aftermath of a parent’s suicide.

  • Trier employs a fragmented, kaleidoscopic style, skipping blithely back and forth in time, and constantly shifting perspective among the fretting widower (Gabriel Byrne) and his two sons (Jesse Eisenberg and Devin Druid). These transitions are handled so deftly and counterintuitively that they provide a patina of mystery and urgency to material that might be borderline insufferable if it were presented linearly.

  • Louder Than Bomb's unobtrusive style, favoring chest-high medium shots with a loose camera able to follow characters around in space but always, above all, emphasizing their faces and emotions, suggests that the director's move to American cinema may be a stepping stone to helming high-brow American television.

  • Smart and consistently stimulating, saved by a quirky sense of detail like the emaciated old African man who improves the (very twee) ending. Generation YouTube in a nutshell: "I like clips that are short and real".

  • What makes the film more interesting than the usual and formulaically structured hyperlink drama is its commitment to mounting inquiries rather than offering pat solutions. Refusing to approach this tangle of misery as a puzzle to be solved, the film keeps searching further, digging up further complications and issues, opening up the story instead of closing it off.

  • The tale isn't new, nor are the characters, but director Joachim Trier's stylistic and narrative dexterity demands attention: He possesses that rare ability to deconstruct his material without denying us the simple beauties of a well-told story.

  • One reference point that some knee-jerk Tweeters have tossed to the fore is Sam Mendes‘ American Beauty (1999), and though this film does focus on characters taking stock of their lives after a moment of extreme trauma, it by no means trades in the same ugly strain of designer bourgeois ennui. This is a far more sophisticated and genuinely taciturn beast.

  • Louder Than Bombs doesn’t share the raw and ambiguous resolve of Oslo; not many films do. But it does prove that Trier is a filmmaker passionately attuned to the types of long-gestating conflicts of miscommunication and doubt that most studio pictures often sensationalise for no good reason other than to sell tickets. Here, a whisper or a touch carries all the weight we need to feel something profound.

  • Trier does an expert job weaving these multiple strands together, moving achronologically (sometimes within the same scene) while gradually disclosing character detail through loaded dialogue and subtle visual information.

  • As I’ve just laid it out, that sounds like a movie neither you nor I would probably want to see. But then, movies are often about so much more than what they’re about, and the riches of Louder Than Bombs lie in the way Trier reveals the secret fears and longings of nearly every character, showing, ultimately, that even when people fail to connect, that itself can be a kind of connection.

  • Told with Trier’s keen emotional sensitivity and affinity for playful narrative structure, Louder Than Bombs explores the subjective experience of memory and how we allow it to affect our lives.

  • Trier slips unobtrusively into an American milieu, but then again, the terrain of Louder than Bombs is largely mental, and frequently hormonal or otherwise restless, and thus a perfect match for this eager, prolific filmmaker. Trier’s cinema is ionized.

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