“Louder than Bombs”: There is a light that never goes out in Joachim Trier’s empathetic drama

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“Louder than Bombs” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:46, three and a half stars out of four.

What could be a more tired cliche for an indie drama than a family struggling to grieve the loss of a parent? And yet you’d think Joachim Trier’s “Louder than Bombs” was the first film to ever explore this emotional territory. Trier’s English-language debut (after the Norwegian “Reprise” and “Oslo August 31st,” both also excellent) is empathetic and graceful, and comes up with a bracingly different visual language to illustrate grief and memory.

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Sundance Film Festival: “The End of the Tour” treats David Foster Wallace with compassion and insight

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Jason Segel gets David Foster Wallace just right in James Ponsoldt’s “The End of the Tour.” He looks just like the big, shaggy, brilliant author of “Infinite Jest,” and he sounds just like him too, the mix of pithy insights, tangents of self-doubts, and moments of unshakable compassion towards the human condition all tumbling out.

He sounds like him. But he sounds like us, too.

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“Night Moves”: Think globally, bomb locally

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Night Moves” has its Madison premiere Friday at 7 p.m. at the UW-Cinematheque screening room, 4070 Vilas Hall. R, 1:52, three and a half stars out of four.

I would be very surprised if Kelly Reichardt’s “Night Moves” isn’t inspired at least in part by the 1971 Sterling Hall bombing on the UW-Madison campus. Four anti-Vietnam protesters tried to blow up the Army Mathematics Research Center using an Econoline van filled with ammonium nitrate, and a university researcher was accidentally killed in the explosion. Many would call them murderers, but they thought they were saving lives.

A similar moral ambiguity, or at least moral distance, infuses Reichardt’s film, which looks at three eco-terrorists planning a siimlar attack. What they’re doing is a crime, but they speak with the fervent urgency of freedom fighters. (“People are going to start thinking. They have to.”) All the while, the film, co-written by Reichardt and her longtime screenwriting partner Jon Raymond (“Meek’s Cutoff,” “Wendy and Lucy”) prefers to observe rather than judge.

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“The Double”: Returning to the twin cinema

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“The Double” has its Madison premiere on Friday, July 11 at 7 p.m. at Union South Marquee Theatre, 1308 W. Dayton St. as part of the UW-Cinematheque summer series. R, 1:33, three stars out of four. FREE!

Richard Ayoade’s “The Double” has basically the same plot as Denis Villeneuve’s “Enemy,” in which a nebbishy nobody finds he has a an exact twin, a cockier and more successful version of himself. Somebody needs to flip the script and make a movie about an arrogant stud who comes across his own nerdy doppelganger.

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