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Louder Than Bombs (DQ)


Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert, Devin Druid, Amy Ryan, David Strathairn, Rachel Brosnahan

Director: Joachim Trier

There aren't many smiles in this glum account of a fractured family. The weak father (Byrne) is an actor, who gave it up to stay at home with his sons, while their mother (Huppert) pursued her career as a photographer in wartorn areas,

Older son Jonah (Eisenberg) is a newly-appointed university professor whose wife has just given birth. Briefly back home to discuss a forthcoming article on the career of his mother, who was believed to have committed suicide in a car smash (although the film leads us to doubt this), he finds time to dash across town to have sex with an old flame.

But he's a beacon of communication and understanding compared to his morose younger brother Conrad (Druid), who is simply impossible. "Am I really that difficult to talk to?' he asks, a question more than adequately answered by the rest of the film. You want throttle the little weasel, especially when he spits in the face of his teacher (Ryan) just because he saw her hugging his widower father, an offence that surely in real life would have resulted in expulsion.

Conrad does have a putative girlfriend, although, after he gives her an example of his writing, she doesn't seem to know his name, even though they share the same classroom.

Performances are delivered in flat monotone, and even the estimable Huppert, alas now looking her age, gets little chance to shine. The film really isn't bad, but at no stage does it rise above the ordinary.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Soda. Colour by deluxe.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 23 Apr 2016