From the GATW Archives: Austin Film Festival 2010 Review: LOUDER THAN A BOMB


Rating: 4/5

DirectorsGreg JacobsJon Siskel
Genre: Documentary

poetry slam n. - A spoken-word poetry competition.

Many young adults going through high school (which is often referred to as “the suck”)  begin career paths that set them on the way to their future.  Depending how they dedicate themselves in those four fast years, it could lead them towards something they’ve always wanted, or hit with a complete halt from a series of very bad decisions.  In LOUDER THAN A BOMB, we’re shown four young teenagers who, even being so young, were given a new chance at being someone in a poetry slam contest of the same name.  All puns aside, LTAB is very explosive.

LOUDER THAN A BOMB is viewed from four different teenagers from four different schools.  We’ve all seen this story before - teens distance themselves from the past and rises above it all, blah blah blah.  What’s new with this story is seeing are subjects trade in violence for poetry.  It’s not your typical football story.  Our setting is six months before Louder Than A Bomb’s competition, and there’s a lot of work to be done.

LOUDER THAN A BOMB is a buildup story.  We’re shown what these students go through to get their spoken word heard by a large number of people.  It’s not about winning for some of these folks - it’s about educating their listeners on their story.  Nova has lived her life taking care of her irresponsible father.  She uses that to fuel her poetry.  She can make a room go silent.  Nate is a mother’s boy whose mother spent his youth abusing drugs. His touching words are built from this. These two come from broken homes and are not afraid to tell the world.  Spoken word can be a powerful tool, and they use that to make it clear in BOMB.

To keep our focus at the topic, our filmmakers cut to clips of our subjects doing slam poetry throughout the talking head interviews.  With each clip, we learn the style of each or our artist.  As read above, two of them use their hardships.

It’s fascinating to see how these four tell their stories.  With some more interesting than the others, all four of these work just as hard and dedicate themselves to crafting their art.  Poetry slam is much like acting, it’s all in your gestures. LOUDER THAN A BOMB shows us that dynamite look at capturing your dreams, whatever that may be.