A story that unfolds from inside the mind of Oskar Schell, an inventive eleven-year-old New Yorker whose discovery of a key in the belongings of his father, who died in the World Trade Centre on 9/11, sets him off on an urgent search for the lock it opens. As Oskar's quest takes him across the city, he encounters an eclectic assortment of people - survivors in their own way-who help uncover links to his father, preserving a connection to the man who helped Oskar confront his fears about the noisy, dangerous world around him.
The 9/11 attacks on the twin towers is still a sore and sensitive subject for most viewers. The feeling the audience gets is that any attempt to show the tragedy of said day becomes torture, if not, devastatingly sad. Memories will crop up and they’re always not the good kind. In the film adaptation of the 2005 best-selling novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’, it is a movie about 9/11 – but it’s not really just about that. It’s what happens when an 11-year-old boy named Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) tries to explain what happened to his father (Tom Hanks) who found his demise in one of the towers, an enigmatic key he had left behind, and a journey Oskar must take to make sense of things.
Directed by Stephen Daldry, ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ makes an emotional adventure out of the aftermath of 9/11. Oskar, the precocious and maybe even a kid with Asperger’s, goes on an emotional adventure by going through the different boroughs of New York City, in search of the owner of a key and a person named ‘Black’.
How atrocious that a young boy should traverse the mean streets of the city, but no worries, Oskar is not exactly alone. We then meet his companion, an elderly mute man only known as The Renter with a nuanced performance by Max Von Sydow (he was nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar for this role). Together, they make an unlikely pair; a more dramatic pair than Russell and Carl from Pixar’s ‘Up’, and with more severe emotions at stake.
The novel the film was adapted to written by Jonathan Safran Foer is not exactly easy to translate on-screen, but kudos to Eric Roth (‘Forrest Gump’) for making the impossible possible. Newcomer Thomas Horn, a real-life boy genius (the champion of TV’s ‘Jeopardy Kids’ edition) gives a complex performance, holding his own with Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks as his parents.
Take out the Kleenex when you watch ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’. You’ll need it.
Making Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, director Stephen Daldry and others discuss the artistic challenges of translating the bestselling novel into the acclaimed film
Finding Oskar: Young newcomer and leading man Thomas Horn makes an extremely indelible impression on his award-winning co-stars and director
Ten Years Later: The extraordinary circumstances surrounding a 9/11 victim's photo on the memorial wall are shared by filmmakers, family members and Tuesday's Children volunteers
Max Von Sydow: Dialogues With The Renter: An insightful documentary by the son of Oscar nominee Max von Sydow highlights his father's compelling performance, the collaboration with director Stephen Daldry and the actor's friendship with his young co-star
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