“Louder than Bombs” is Joachim Trier’s intimate family drama about the impact of a mother’s death on her husband and two sons. The story is told from the perspective of three different male characters who themselves are at pivotal crossroads in the lives of men — coming of age, becoming a new father, and settling into middle age as a widower.
The deeper meaning of the film comes in the examination of what we talk about when we talk about the truth. One kind of hard truth is truth in journalism. The mother (Isabelle Hupert) was a war photographer who used her camera to reflect the truth, no matter whom it might hurt, no matter how badly her subjects might feel about being caught on camera. Journalism, after all, has an obligation to the truth.
But beyond that, what are we obligated to tell our loved ones? What are we obligated to tell our wives to prevent their getting hurt by the things we do? What are the benefits of deception? What is the eventual harm?
These are the questions the film ponders, eventually settling on truth being the better option, even if it is colored by one’s own personal feelings, because lies have a way of growing to bigger proportions.