Louder than Bombs, film review: ‘Can-of-worms drama’

Louder Than Bombs

Louder Than Bombs - Credit: Archant

This small scale American indie offers a variation on the can-of-worms drama about the dysfunctional family meeting up at a funeral.

The difference is that there isn’t a funeral; two years after the death of a celebrated war zone photographer (Huppert), the surviving family get together to go through her work prior to a gallery holding an exhibition.

The father (Byrne) cannot communicate with his withdrawn teenage son (Druid), while his other son (Eisenberg), a lecturer, is struggling to cope with the birth of his first child.

Of course, conversations will be had, reconciliations will be sought, but mercifully, shouting is mostly avoided.

Trier mixes in dream sequences and flashbacks so that it is more ethereal and serene than than these occasions usually are; it’s ever so slightly American Beauty-ish.

It’s a drama, but the worms are coaxed gently and individually from the can, and are then tastefully presented.

Quite what is achieved by all this is up for debate.

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It tinkers with major themes about our engagement with the wider world and the lessening of the power of photojournalism to provoke a reaction in western society.

Huppert’s war photographer says she isn’t like the others who are addicted to the thrill of it, but when she is back home she is restless.

She is perfectly cast as a sanctimonious risk taker a role that has been the mainstay of Huppert’s career.

As the father Byrne remains softly spoken throughout; his character seems to be in retreat from centre stage and he remains oddly peripheral, leaving the film’s main focus on the only unknown member of the cast, Devin Druid.

Rating: 3/5 stars.