Louder than Bombs (2016)

louder than bombs review

Louder than Bombs is the third feature from Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier, who in 2011 bagged the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival for his film Oslo, August 31st. Last year he returned to the festival with his latest film, also his English-language debut, Louder than Bombs competing in competition, which also happened to hit theaters just recently.

The film basically follows the story of a fractious family of a father (Gabriel Bryne) and his two sons Jesse Eisbenberg and Devin Druid ) who find themselves confronting their different feelings and memories of their deceased wife and mother, a famed war photographer (Isabelle Huppert ) when an upcoming exhibition celebrating her life and work comes around.

louder than bombs review jesse eisenberg

Though I haven’t seen Joachim Trier’s either two previous films, it’s quite evident just by seeing this film that he is a very talented filmmaker, and most of this talent is exhibited in Louder than Bombs, especially when it comes to directing his actors and crafting strong, emotionally moving scenes. I think the film has it’s fair share of such moments, that really captivated me. It is a film that definitely has that emotional grip. The characters are compelling and the cast led by, Gabriel Bryne, Jesse Eisenberg, Isabelle Huppert and newcomer Devin Druid offer superb performances, especially Gabriel Bryne and Jesse Eisenberg. I think Gabriel Bryne, in particular gives possibly one of the best performances of his career as a father dealing both with the loss of his wife and one who struggles who connect with his two sons.

Jesse Eisenberg Gabriel Byrne Louder Than Bombs review

But despite hitting home with the emotion on a number of occasions, Louder than Bombs’s biggest strength often proves to be it’s biggest flaw as well, which is that the drama doesn’t always connect, and the emotional moments have the tendency to feel both overly melodramatic and overly contrived. The film remains a melodrama for all of it’s entirety but it’s biggest dramatic moments feel tame, and despite two very strong opening acts, the story begins to gradually lose both momentum and it’s dramatic heft as it progresses forward.

Louder than Bombs is a film that I admire quite a bit. I think it paints a compelling portrait of grief and loss, and dealing with such a circumstance. It’s solidly acted, and Gabriel Bryne, in particular is really good. But I think there are far too many dramatic contrivances that holds back the film, and despite two very compelling opening acts, the film feels meandering and unengaging by the end.




14 responses to “Louder than Bombs (2016)

      • Yeah me too. Its weird, the UK and the US seem to get everything, and the rest of the world gets whatever makes money, or stuff that is promoted well. And local stuff obviously.

        I actually found this playing two sessions only this weekend. I’ll wait for VOD though I think


      • Its really unfortunate but its the way it is I guess and we have to make the best of it.
        I would definitely recommend you to check it out for the performances.


  1. while i understand your reservations, i thought the drama really hit home, especially with its emotional impact. and while i loved Bryne, for me, Eisenberg was the real star. havent seen a more nuanced performance from him since THE SOCIAL NETWORK.


  2. This is a great review thank you. I found the film engaging in the way that Norwegian films can be. Would love you to drop in for a read of my version.


  3. I might rent this one as I like a few Danish films I’ve seen so far. I like Byrne too, though Eisbenberg is a bit of a hit and miss for me, but I appreciate that he tries different types of roles.


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