Thursday, September 8, 2016

Louder than Bombs

Gabriel Byrne, Isabelle Huppert,
Jesse Eisenberg, Devin Druid

"Break the Silence"


Contrary to its title, there are no loud explosions or screeching car chases to capture your attention. The drama is drawn out by the intense mixture of emotions exhibited through its three main characters who all happen to be male. A father and his two sons who are still learning to deal with the sudden loss of their wife/mother. 

3 years after war photographer Isabelle Reed's (Isabelle Huppert) death, her family must relive their grief as an exhibit of her work will be displayed together with the launching of a book about her life. The wounds are still fresh as the real cause of the car accident which claimed her life is bound to further create a conflict among the remaining members of her family.

Her husband Gene (Gabriel Byrne) a former actor turned high school teacher still struggles to connect with his youngest son Conrad (Devin Druid), a loner who finds solace in extremely violent video games. While eldest son, Jonah (Jesse Eisenberg), a married professor is overwhelmed with the daunting tasks of being a brand new parent to a baby boy.  

I understand how difficult it must be for men to openly express their true feelings and this film vividly portrays the inner struggles each of them go through in dealing with their profound grief. 

It was good to see Gabriel Byrne again in any film and he doesn't disappoint as his portrayal of Gene is raw and poignant as a father trying his best to keep the fort running, so to speak. 

French actress Isabelle Huppert as the seasoned war photographer is shown through fleeting flashbacks but however little we see of her is still memorable as she commands a strong screen presence.  Her character is more able to connect with her deprived subjects in war torn countries than with her own sons who naturally act and feel distant to their mother. 

The same sentiments that are sometimes manifested through soldiers who come home from fighting overseas yet they can't wait to go back to the war zones. An abrupt disconnect that is sadly quite common and in a way quite painful to those living through it.

For a film that is quite quiet, both in form and dialogue, it still manages to pack in a lot of emotional nuances that is really powerful and thought provoking. For me that is the essential mark of a true dramatic narrative that several films seem to be lacking nowadays so I'm glad I was able to witness a rare gem like "Louder than Bombs".

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