Title: Louder Than A Bomb
Directors: Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel
We all have a need to be understood. That is the underlying essence of being human. For some it comes easy and for others, it’s difficult to convey especially if you’re a teenager. In these adolescent years, adults, teachers and parents are preparing you for the real world. For wonder why teens are rebellious and anxious, just itching to express them but held under strict discipline and rules. But finding the one thing that makes you happy and shows who you really are is important to teens especially at this young age. This is what’s ultimately going to make you, you. In “Louder Than A Bomb”, teens find an outlet for their angst in spoken word poetry.
“Louder Than A Bomb” is a documentary that follows a group of misfit/outcast high school students in Chicago who discover their voice, passion and love in spoken word poetry. They compete in an all city tournament called Louder Than A Bomb for the prestige of being the best high school poet in the city. And what is conveyed in this film is heartwarming, triumphant and wonderful.
Filmmakers Greg Jacobs and Jon Siskel successfully convey the highs and lows of being a misunderstood high school student who find solace in words. Infusing the thrills and pitfall of a sports competition movie realizing the winners and losers of street poetry. They also seem to capture the joy of students realizing their potential and the hard work put behind it. This is probably the most rewarding aspect of the film, seeing a piece come to fruition from inception to performance. It hits home the sincerity and emotion of these kids so well and the same time putting away stereotypes of the inner city youth.
It remains to be seen though, another documentary about street poetry released during the 2010 DOC NYC film festival feels more cohesive narratively, and that documentary is “To Be Heard”. I know it’s completely unfair for me to compare these two films but that thought and comparison popped in my mind while I was screening “Louder Than A Bomb”. In “To Be Heard” the subjects struggle with the real world of street crime, employment and drugs. Finding solace in poetry had more weight and the documentary evolved into a film about survival. It’s unfair to compare these film because “Louder Than A Bomb” doesn’t go in this direction, it finds itself with the joy poetry can bring a teenager.
What feels most cohesive and interesting about “Louder Than A Bomb” is dispelling the stereotype put upon teenagers in general. It puts them in a light where they are empowered and brilliant. This is what any moviegoer should take away from this film. Teenagers are not all troublemakers, there is an abundance of untapped potential waiting to surprise adults, teachers and parents by impressing the fact that when these teenagers take the stage and perform their work for an audience, their impact is felt and is in fact louder than a bomb.
“Louder Than A Bomb” opens in NYC on May 18th