A densely layered exploration of guilt, loss, regret and ultimately hope, Louder Than Bombs threatens to fall apart under the weight of its own ambition but always rallies thanks to the strong performances and, in his first English language outing, Joachim Trier’s masterful treatment of his characters.
abriel Byrne’s widowed teacher still struggles despite it being three years since wife Huppert, a renowned war photographer, died. His relationship with his teenage son, Devin Druid, is strained because he’s told the fifteen-year-old that mum died in a car accident when in fact is she committed suicide, something the moody boy suspects. With David Strathairn’s journalist writing an article on her work, and the truth behind her death, time is running out for Byrne to come clean. Meanwhile, older son Eisenberg, who has just become a father, has returned home to help Byrne sift through Huppert’s photos for an upcoming exhibition...
hile some sub-sub-plots can feel like distractions, like Eisenberg reuniting with college flame Rachel Brosnahan, the would-be romance between loner/wannabe writer Druid and a cheerleader has enough heartache and nuance to warrant its own film. Ditto Byrne and the feeling of his way into an awkward romance with colleague, and Druid’s teacher, Amy Ryan – his first relationship since Huppert died. Even Huppert, with her deep-rooted confliction over the ethics of her job, has her own journey despite being restricted to flashbacks.
he performances can’t be faulted with Huppert and Byrne’s subtle turns giving their fraught marriage a lived-in feel, the sea of hurt in the eyes of newcomer Druid’s eyes, and the unexpected soft and tender Eisenberg is welcome.
haunting but ultimately heart-warming drama.