A Family is Haunted by the Ghosts of the Past in the Striking Drama ‘Louder Than Bombs’


Not all ghost stories involve people haunted by the ghastly specters from beyond, sometimes a ghost story can be about the way our thoughts are haunted by those that have left us. That’s the case with Louder Than Bombs, the English language debut of Danish director Joachim Trier. This simultaneously modest and ambitious familial drama tells the story of a family dealing with the strains of losing its matriarch years ago. Louder Than Bombs is not quite for wider audiences, with a methodical pacing, numerous dream sequences, and almost permanent heartbreak of its characters. But for those with a mindset more geared to quieter arthouse fare, they’ll find a smart film that looks at the lasting impact of family bonds, and how events long past can still leave us shaken.

Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert) was a combat photographer who worked around the world in various places of conflict. It wasn’t in a warzone that she lost her life, but a car accident not far from her home. Years later, and her widower Gene (Gabriel Byrne) is helping prepare a museum exhibition of his dead wife’s work. Her former colleague Richard (David Strathairn) is preparing a piece for the New York Times about her life and work, but he plans to reveal the truth of her death – it was a suicide. The sons of Gene and Isabelle are each going in their own ways. The elder Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) has just become a father with his wife and works as a professor. The younger Conrad (David Druid) is alienated and full of angst, only gaining release through playing video games. Jonah leaves his wife and child behind to spend a few days at the family home in hopes of getting material together for the exhibition of his mother’s photographs, but he only finds a family haunted by the ghosts of the past.

The story of Louder Than Bombs plays out in so many different ways, with flashbacks, fantasies, dreams, and inner-monologues all fleshing out the various characters and their perspective of events. Trier and co-writer Eskil Vogt give their main trio of characters enormous depth for their actions on screen, though I’d say that they keep the younger Conrad at a distance which makes his angst-ridden teenage fairly annoying after a while (like any teenager, really). Never at any point are you left questioning why somebody performed any action.

As usual, Gabriel Byrne gives a strong performance as the patriarch of the Reed family, with a passive attitude towards confrontation. Even with saying little, he conveys great pain when trying in vain to bond with his surly teenage son. Sadly, the relationship between Byrne’s Gene and Amy Ryan’s Hannah isn’t given ample screen time, as the film focuses intently on the trio of men. It was certainly refreshing to see Jesse Eisenberg give a smart, assured performance following the debacle of Batman v Superman. He’s a man at precipice of complete adulthood, a newborn to his name, and riddled with apprehension about taking that next step forward. Even relegated to flashbacks and dreams, Isabelle Huppert radiates the mystery and compassion necessary for the audience to believe that her memory haunts her family.

For as much as Joachim Trier plays with timelines and realities, Louder Than Bombs is never unclear in its setting, a difficult trick indeed. It seems as if each character is given their own novel-like narration, which gives the varied flashbacks and dreams with a subjective perspective. Some events are played out more than once, giving us the events through the eyes of another character. Even in its quieter moments, Louder Than Bombs is nothing short of engaging.

Louder Than Bombs is an arthouse drama, one that may alienate those looking for an escalating drama rooted in convention. But this is a film about coping with loss, about how it can shape who we are. Joachim Trier’s English language debut is the work of a ponderous filmmaker, one willing to look beyond a traditional narrative to explore his themes. This is a well-acted, beautifully shot movie that frustrates at times and astounds at others. Not all ghost stories are scary, and Louder Than Bombs is a strikingly different kind of ghost story.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Darkest Hour
Joe Wright’s ‘Darkest Hour’ Brings Forth Gary Oldman’s Finest Hours

In 1940, as Hitler’s Nazi forces spread their aggressive campaign of...

The Good Time Girls
Brutal Female Fronted Western Revenge Short ‘The Good Time Girls’ Optioned as a Feature

The Western genre has for too long been a sausage-fest, movies...

Martin McDonagh
Martin McDonagh Discusses the Fire Behind ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

These days, it’s easy to be angry. Look around you and...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Super Beat Sports Review
Drop the Beat, Don’t Drop the Ball – Super Beat Sports Review [Switch]

Harmonix delivers another game that’s as fun and catchy as that song...

Nioh: Complete Edition Review
Test Your Metal – Nioh: Complete Edition Review [PC]

Definitive proof that there is fun in challenge and frustration –...

Review – Bad Apple Wars (PSV)

Rinka is your typical high school girl. She goes through life,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Tick Tock, Tick Tock, the ‘Doomsday Clock’ is about to Strike!

Title: Doomsday Clock #1 Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Gary Frank Colorist:...

viz media
Viz Media Digital Manga Update for November

TLDR Viz Media announced its digital manga update for November will...

viz media
New Anime and Manga for the Holidays from Viz Media

Viz Media releases new anime and manga for the upcoming holidays....

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Are you Ready for WWE Survivor Series? Check Out Loot Crate First!

Updated from Thursday’s Original Post: One of the original “Big 4”...

Are You Worthy to Wield Thor’s Hammer (Tool Set)?

ThinkGeek’s 44 piece Thor’s hammer tool set is the perfect gift...

Legendary Dragon Decks Review
Dragons are the Coolest – Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Dragon Decks Review

Dragons are ingrained into every season of Yu-Gi-Oh, here’s your chance...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
AXS TV Closes NJPW’s ‘G1 Climax 27’ With Four Episodes From The Final Weekend Beginning Friday Oct. 13

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 11, 2017) – “Rainmakers” and “High Fly...

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Rocky Romero has created an auction to raise money for UNIDOS por Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

I’m The costume was worn by Rocky during the final Roppongi...

Douglas Lima Defends his Bellator Welterweight Title Against Rory MacDonald at the Forum on 1/20

LOS ANGELES – One year removed from its previous event at...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Adult Continuity Issue #10 – Justice League XXX


Javier Fernandez
Future Comic Rock Stars – Javier Fernandez

It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve written this column...

Comics on the Can – Double Dragon

Comics on the can Double Dragon Writer – Dwayne McDuffie Pencils...

Event News Event Reviews
go little tokyo
Five Reasons to Visit LA’s Little Tokyo For the Holidays

Go Little Tokyo is pleased to host Go Little Tokyo for the...

BlizzCon 2017
Another Cool Year at BlizzCon – BlizzCon 2017 Roundup

BlizzCon 2017 was packed full of Blizzard news that chilled fans...

LA Comic Con 2017
Stan Lee and Dwayne Johnson Rock the Main Stage at LA Comic Con 2017

LA Comic Con (formerly Comikaze) brings the star power with its...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...

Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...