Film Review: All Intention, No Delivery in Stephen Daldry‘s ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’

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CHICAGO – The September 11th tragedy is still percolating through the cinematic filter, and there is a well intentioned thread throughout the various interpretations. But the latest attempt, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” stretches this intention too far, despite a cast featuring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

This parable about a boy trying to come to terms with his father’s passing in the Twin Towers strains credibility too much, leaving in its wake a New York City that everyone wishes would exist (but doesn’t), relatives who conveniently are conjured when only necessary and more magical non-realism than a cheaply written fairy tale – which it is. While as planned we may feel for the boy’s journey, the sticky sweet way that he gets through it produces a fine antidote for any emotional connections.

Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) is a pint size Rain Man, an introverted, super-intelligent New York City kid whose best friend is his father Thomas (Tom Hanks). Dad is constantly directing Oskar toward some adventure or expedition, challenging him to find mythical lands like NYC’s “sixth” borough. This is all done with the encouragement of his supportive mother (Sandra Bullock) and a jolly doorman (John Goodman). Things change on September 11th, 2001.

Stuck on the upper floors of the South Tower – the first one to collapse – Thomas desperately tries to call home, leaving several messages on an answering machine before he meets his end. His voice and the messages are the substance of Oskar’s motivation to solve a mystery a year later – he has found a key among his father’s belongings. On the envelope containing the key is the word “Black,” so the boy systematically tries to find a lock for the key by visiting every NYC resident with that last name. Along the way he enlists an old man who doesn’t speak (Max Von Sydow) and tries to come to terms with his father’s demise.

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” opens everywhere on January 20th. Featuring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max Von Sydow, Jeffrey Wright, Viola Davis and John Goodman. Screenplay by Eric Roth, directed by Stephen Daldry. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Thomas Horn (Oskar) and Tom Hanks (Thomas) in ‘ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’
Thomas Horn (Oskar) and Tom Hanks (Thomas) in ‘ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

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