SYNOPSIS: Adapted from the acclaimed bestseller by Jonathan Safran Foer, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” is a story that unfolds from inside the young mind of Oskar Schell, an inventive eleven year-old New Yorker whose discovery of a key in his deceased father’s belongings sets him off on an urgent search across the city for the lock it will open. A year after his father died in the World Trade Center on what Oskar calls “The Worst Day,” he is determined to keep his vital connection to the man who playfully cajoled him into confronting his wildest fears. Now, as Oskar crosses the five New York boroughs in quest of the missing lock – encountering an eclectic assortment of people who are each survivors in their own way – he begins to uncover unseen links to the father he misses, to the mother who seems so far away from him and to the whole noisy, dangerous, discombobulating world around him.
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” is an absolute challenging movie to sit through. Not because the subject involves the aftermaths of the tragic 9/11 event rather it involves an eleven-year-old boy being too smart and annoying that the well-intended message of lost and hope is lost amidst the exploitative moments.
Newcomer Thomas Horn (who looks slightly similar to a younger Freddie Highmore) plays Oskar Schell, an incredibly intelligent, matured, self-proclaimed inventor who lost his dear father, Thomas (Tom Hanks) in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Unable to cope with the sudden loss, Oskar sets off on a task to find the lock of a key he discovered in the belongings of his father hoping to find answers while the relationship between his mother (Sandra Bullock) and him distanced by the days.
While it’s basically a tale of grief and the loss of loved ones, the whole movie becomes a tiring road journey for Oskar (and the audience as well if I may add) as we follows him in and out of New York searching high and low for a person called “Black”. It doesn’t matter if the people he met along the way enable Oskar to connect the dots, the boy simple wants closure. However, director Stephen Daldry (“The Hours”, “Billy Elliot”) crafted a somehow depressing, emotional powerhouse that the 129 minutes running time become a drag and left one utterly drained when it becomes too repetitive for its own good.
Max von Sydow who was nominated for an Oscar for his role plays a mysterious, mute man who went on the hunt with Oskar. In fact, the character has a far more interesting premise that we were hoping to learn more but sadly, isn’t. Sandra Bullock who went on a long hiatus after the acclaimed “The Blind Side” turns in another amazing performance as the suffering and helpless mother, Linda. Tom Hanks on the other hand proved his voice performances on the answering machines alone is worthy of an award.
Despite not being a likeable character, Horn is terrific as Oskar. Remember Haley Joel Osment in “The Sixth Sense”? He plays the slight autistic Oskar to a tee. He recites his lines like a pro and the last scene with his mother brought a tear to our eyes. Thomas Horn is the latest young actor to watch out for, this boy has the goods.
Alexandre Desplat provides the splendid and haunting piano score while Chris Menges’ cinematography brought New York Cityto live especially for those who aren’t familiar with the landscape, this adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novelhas its fair share of flaws but the fine acting alleviate the screen material a little.
Finding Oskar is an 8 minutes segment that focused on first time actor Thomas Horn, the talented child actor that impresses the director, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Horn is such a smart boy that he is learning Mandarin as well.
Dialogue is clear and more impressive is the wide range of ambient sound effects that keeps the movie alive and affecting. Visual is sharp and colours presentation is natural.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee