Movies surrounding the events of 9/11 will always have a depressing undercurrent regardless of the uplifting nature of the story.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Clos
Movies surrounding the events of 9/11 will always have a depressing undercurrent regardless of the uplifting nature of the story. So is the case with the new drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer and directed by Stephen Daldry; this film has a lot to offer. No doubt the cast deliver exceptional performances in what is a pretty solid story.
Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) is a curious and often times eccentric 9 year old boy who tends to lean toward the obsessive compulsive. His life changes dramatically when his father, Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks) is killed in the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. While rummaging through his father’s closet Oskar finds a mysterious key which sends him all over the five boroughs of NY in search of the lock in which it fits. While alive, Thomas Schell would send Oskar on adventures and Oskar is sure that this key was left behind for that very purpose. Along the way he meets several people whose lives are touched by this young boy and his journey.
Although played out after the 9/11 event some of the story is told in flashback scenes to give you an idea of the bond between Oskar and his father. This creates the foundation for Oskar’s journey and is a very touching insight into one father and son relationship. Hanks is as endearing and grounded as ever in this role. Oskar’s mother (Sandra Bullock) is dealing with her own grief while trying to reach out to her hurting son. Though her scenes are few, Bullock is brilliant and delivers a heart wrenching performance. It is impossible not to be moved by her portrayal. The spot on cast also includes Max von Sydow as the mysterious tenant across the street, and Viola Davis as one of the women that Oskar meets along the way.
The book is a solid read and obviously gives more depth to the characters and the twists that happen along the way. Sadly some of these moments and interactions come off as thin in the movie. Oskar meets many amazing people but due to time many are barely skimmed over. I would have liked to see more of these individuals. Also, the story is supposed to be inspiring and encouraging. Yet the tone never overcomes the tragedy. That is ok and possibly the intent. But many will want more to cheer about. Horn will capture your heart in his representation of Oskar. He is focused and tenacious when it comes to his task. The obsessive nature of his character needs the right persona and Thomas does it perfectly. Some might remember him as the kid from Jeopardy. Horn won a lot of mullah during kids week a few years back. He is certainly intelligent and does a fabulous job in this, his first film appearance.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, some disturbing images, and language. It is a film worth seeing but just be aware of the emotional journey it will take you on. Fans of Hanks and Bullock will find pleasure in both of their offerings in this one. The city and people of NY play additional characters and you can’t beat that backdrop for a film such as this. I give it 3.5 out of 5 subway rides. I certainly recommend the book for all and the movie for those who like a large heaping of emotional drama. If you are looking for something powerfully uplifting you might find this one doesn’t quite deliver; even if the cast does.
Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.