Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (12a)
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock
Running Time: 129min
A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) is a nine-year-old boy who loves cracking puzzles and deciphering maps with his dad Thomas (Tom Hanks), while his mum Linda (Sandra Bullock) looks on in bewilderment.
Sadly, things change forever when Thomas dies in the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11. Oskar, finding it difficult to cope with the loss of his father, accidentally finds a key which he believes his father has left for him and which he has convinced himself is one last puzzle for him to crack and remain close to his father…
Thomas Horn portrays the troubled Oskar very convincingly and throughout the film’s running time gives a splendid performance and range of emotions on screen that is duly worthy of praise. Indeed, there are times when it is hard to believe that the character on screen is so young.
There are various sub-plots during the duration which include a stunning performance by Max Von Sydow as The Renter and companion of sorts to the young Oskar. That, coupled with sterling direction from Stephen Daldry, means that the audiences heart strings and emotions are tugged at every opportunity.
Sadly, that is exactly how this film’s story pans out. The audience is given one heart rendering scene after another to the point where it becomes purely frustrating. This emotional gauntlet, coupled with the totally unbelievable and unrealistic journey of this child, make the viewer either weep with admiration for the film’s young star or seethe with anger during the film’s final reel to such an extent that the film should be re-titled “Extremely Annoying and Incredibly Unbelievable”.
Suffice to say that I won’t spoil this movie, however there are a number of major plot holes that literally beg belief. Clearly those who have viewed this and nominated it for various awards must surely have concentrated on either the performances and the main subject matter and ignored the finer details.
That said, the film, as I mentioned earlier, is well acted and the director deserves credit for capturing on screen the greatest child/ young adult performance since Anna Paquin in The Piano and, if anything, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close should be remembered for that, and not the movie as a whole.