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Louder Than Bombs (AF)


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

Director: Joachim Trier

Copenhagen-born Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier makes his English-language directorial debut (conscripting with Eskil Vogt) with a family drama that promises rather more than it actually delivers.

Indeed, despite a good cast, the tale of the harsh emotional conflicts suffered by a father and his two sons two years after their celebrated war photographer mother died in a car accident would have benefited considerably from having subtitles since subtitled movies tend to be hailed as art movies.

Despite some good acting, notably by Gabriel Byrne as the paterfamilias struck with having to deal with his computer-game addicted and still badly traumatized younger son Devon Druid ((“The Billy Elliot of Hip-Hop!”) (excellent)) who still lives with him, and faces more emotional aggravation when his older son Jesse Eisenberg (possibly the least convincing screen professor since Tom Hanks in The Ladykillers but happily no longer as camp as he was playing Lex Luthor in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice or Eddie Murphy’s Nutty lecturer) arrives back home…

Isabelle Huppert is well used as the mother but Trier’s insistence on using too many flashbacks and flash-forwards in telling his story only serves to underline an essentially novelettish screenplay which at times comes across like Mills and Boone with swearwords but still lacking in much of a storyline.

Passable, perhaps, as a TV movie.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. 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: 24 Apr 2016