In is out in Joachim Trier’s Louder than Bombs, a drama about loss and lies. Set in suburbia, in upstate New York, the movie centers on a father (Gabriel Byrne), a former actor now a high school teacher, and his sons. The older son, a sociology professor in New York City, returns home after hearing there’s going to be a retrospective about his deceased mother (Isabelle Huppert), a war photographer. He’s upset that a New York Times article accompanying the retrospective will reveal the circumstances of her death, of which his younger brother (Devin Druid), an introverted gamer in high school, is unaware. Louder than Bombs is thin on plot and heavy on character, using flashbacks, daydreams, nightdreams, voiceover, montage, diary entries, and multiple perspectives on the same episode in order to bring to the forefront, like a novel, the consciousnesses of its main characters. This patchwork of perspectives is adroitly balanced by Trier, who cowrote the film with Eskil Vogt. Most of Louder than Bombs is understated; the expected shouting, hugging, crying is conspicuously absent, and the climax is tender and low-key, almost devoid of catharsis. Which is what makes the movie fresh.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White