Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close review by Melissa Orcine - Cinema Paradiso
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.