An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death, brings her eldest son Jonah back to the family house - forcing him to spend more time with his father Gene and withdrawn younger brother Conrad than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently.
Louder than Bombs is a frustrating movie because it's so beautifully edited and directed but everything about it just falls flat.
The film is about the Reeds, a family made up of a father and his two sons, one an adult starting his own family, the other a teen, who are all coping with the loss of the mother of the family Isabelle, a war photographer who died 4 years earlier. The events in the film are triggered because a retrospective of Isabelle's work is being put on and a friend and journalist writing an article regarding her life warns Isabelle's widow that he plans to be "honest" about the way she died implying that the car crash she died in might not have been accidental after all. The rest of the film follows these three men as they stumble around their lives, reminiscing about the Isabelle they knew and didn't know and struggling to move forward.
It's a very watchable film, but it's also somehow not enough. The struggles of the film feel self-indulgent and it's one of those films where women exist only to be lusted over or listen sympathetically to the men as they talk about their problems and throw tantrums. Even legendary actress Isabelle Huppert, as the ghost that haunts the family, doesn't get much to chew on. The worst part is that it's a movie that isn't easy to write off entirely. The youngest son is a bit of a writer and the way his text is layered over with images leads to some beautiful editing and some true movie magic. It's just a shame that these great moments don't quite live up to what they could have been if they had had strong emotion to back them up.
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