LOUDER THAN BOMBS (#TIFF15 Review)
LOUDER THAN BOMBS
Directed by Joachim Trier / Written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier / Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne and Isabelle Huppert
Jonah Reed: There’s no story in a car accident.
And sometimes there’s really no new story to tell when it comes to movies about familial dysfunctions and secrets upon secrets and lies upon lies. Competently told with flashes of visual exuberance, LOUDER THAN BOMBS is about a father and his two sons who revisit the pain brought about by the untimely death of their wife and mother Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert), an acclaimed photojournalist, who died in a car accident three years prior. An exhibition of her war photography is in the planning stages and eldest son Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) returns home, after his wife had just given birth to their first child, to help his schoolteacher father Gene (Gabriel Byrne) sort through her journals, videos and photos. Gene has a contentious relationship with his sullen and uncommunicative youngest son Conrad (Devin Druid) and hopes with the three of them under the same roof, a new sense of family and normalcy can return.
Fat chance of that happening as unearthed skeletons abound. And, quite honestly, none of them are all that interesting or even worth exploring. Was it really an accident that killed Isabelle or was it a suicide? A murder? Did Gene really think having a new, romantic relationship with one of Conrad’s teachers would help the two of them establish a better bond? If Jonah is happily married, why did he just screw an old girlfriend? The only fun secret is the brothers discovering that their father was an actor at one point as they watch a clip online (a scene between Byrne and Shelley Long from HELLO AGAIN). Want a new revelation? Wait three minutes for the next one.
Other than a most assured performance by Druid, who captures a teenage boy’s angsts and insecurities quite nicely, LOUDER THAN BOMBS is more fizzle than it is explosion.
LOUDER THAN BOMBS screens at TIFF15 as part of the Special Presentations program. This is the screening information:
Wednesday, September 16, 12:00 PM, Ryerson
Friday, September 18, 8:00 PM, Winter Garden Theatre
How many sheep would you give Louder Than Bombs?