Louder Than Bombs

Louder Than Bombs ★★★½

"You know, if I had a girl, I would never lie to her."
"Yeah, good luck with that."

Louder Than Bombs distracts you from its faults with structural loop-de-loops and the occasional pure and true moment. If, once it ends, I didn't feel completely satisfied, it was worth it for the fleeting glimpses of transcendence.

Telling the relatively simple story of a family still shaken by the suicide of their matriarch (Isabelle Huppert, amazing as always in flashbacks), Louder Than Bombs mixes it up with a novelistic approach to storytelling. POV shifts, voiceovers, time jumps, dream sequences - all of this and more is used to create a mosaic of these fragile people, allowing us to put together the broken pieces. Two moments in particular stood out to me, and both are voiceovers for men of different ages being nervous around women - this device connects them in a way they are unable to directly. And the final moment, a metaphor in black and white, is beautiful in its strangeness.

Where this falters, then, is how it portions off its generosity. Despite the existence of 3-5 characters worthy of inspection, Director Joachim Trier only delves deeply into two of them. Jesse Eisenberg's character, especially, seems given a relatively short thrift, only feinting towards letting us into his mind. Amy Ryan also seemed to deserve more than we are allowed.

This creates a sense of incompleteness, unfinished business as the film concludes, only a few of these characterisations worthy of the denouement. Still, even if this doesn't completely come together, it's a worthy and often beautiful document of loneliness and connection - plus Devin Druid and Gabriel Byrne are fantastic.

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