TIFF 2015 Review: Louder Than Bombs
In 2014 Jason Reitman made Men, Women & Children, a film that attempted to examine inter-familial relationships in the digital age. Most would agree that Reitman failed, resulting in a film that was trite and plainly unrealistic. Just one year later, Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs studies the same subject, succeeding completely.
A few years ago Isabelle Reed (Isabelle Huppert) a war photographer, was killed in a tragic car accident. In the present, her family is still reeling from the effects of her death. Her husband Gene (Gabriel Byrne) is a schoolteacher, struggling connect with his young son Conrad (Devin Druid). The eldest son Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg) has just had a child, yet cannot fully commit to his wife. Meanwhile, Conrad feels ostracized from society and is only driven by his love for a female classmate who doesn’t even know he exists. Together, the three men must come to terms with the fact that their beloved wife/mother has not died in an accident, but may have in fact committed suicide.
Joachim Trier’s previous film, the heartbreaking Oslo August 31st, followed the life of a recovering drug addict. That film kept the audience at a bit of a distance, letting the protagonist’s emotions be displayed on the outside. Louder Than Bombs, on the other hand, takes the viewer inside the minds of its characters. Each of the leads provides voiceover throughout. Their thoughts are presented through a train-of-consciousness, Virginia Woolf style, leading to narration and images that are as poetic as it is unique.
With his latest film, Trier solidifies his place as one of the best working directors. Due to Trier’s unique style and some brilliant performances, Louder Than Bombs is a masterpiece.