Sunday, 24 April 2016

Louder Than Bombs (2015)

A father (Gabriel Byrne) and his two sons (Jesse Eisenberg and Devin Druid) come to terms with the loss of their mother (Isabelle Huppert) and the situation surrounding her death.

Oh look, it's one of those films. The ones where it goes around parading how deep and profound it is when, in reality, a lot of it falls flat leaving the audience more than a bit bored. I hit that point a couple of minutes in and then I had to sit through another 100 long minutes.

That's not to say I can't understand what the film was trying to do. But you do more deft hands to craft something like this in a way that works. Otherwise it's just too ponderous and proud of itself - which this film definitely is, otherwise it wouldn't be so smug with what it has done by the end.

Despite the film being as satisfied with itself as it was, none of it worked for me. The characters don't come across as the most sympathetic bunch, with the film believing it can justify, for the example, the two sons attitudes to the situation in their lives and what they do as a result. Perhaps it's just me being a cold-hearted bastard (which I am), but I don't think these characters have an acceptable excuse (especially the teenage one called Conrad - a mopey, lovestruck, weird teen who writes up his feelings in what the film will try to have us believe is an amazing piece of writing). At least, not from how the film presents things.

When it's not languishing pathetically with the characters doing stuff, it switches to brief moments of random visuals or people staring at the camera. Or just having different people narrate different moments. Is this meant to mean stuff? Am I meant to think this is some beautiful look at human life? Or is it just wasting my time by beating its chest in an overly pretentious Inarritu kind-of way (at least Inarritu's visuals are good)?

Maybe I'm being overly horrible towards the film. I could see what it was trying to do and more skilled hands could have made this a far more engaging film with more sympathetic characters and a much stronger dramatic core. As it is, the film was a little too full of itself but forgets to make its central characters and their struggle seem compelling and sympathetic.

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