Sunday, January 22, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

When I first saw the trailer for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, I was 100% hooked. Stories about 9/11 are always emotional and usually lean toward the sad side, but sometimes you want to see a movie like that. I don't know about you, but I get so sick of the happy endings that Hollywood pours out onto the big screen. Based solely on my knowledge of the preferences of the Academy Awards, I really thought this movie would do well when it came to picking up nominations, but it looks like it will be kept off the list this year. The biggest thing that worried me about this film was it's 50% rating on the Tomatometer. I tend to agree with the Tomatometer, so I just had to hope they were wrong when I went to see Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close...

This story is absolutely fantastic. It really has so many different elements, such as the whimsical nature of a kids adventure film, the emotion of a sad drama, and the mystery of a great thriller. As I'm sure you have seen in the trailer, Oskar (Thomas Horn) spends the movie searching for the lock that fits a key he finds in his father's closet. At the beginning of the story, I didn't think there was going to be much depth to his search, seeing as he is just a kid, but, by the end, I really REALLY wanted to know where his adventure would end. It was really a story about letting go and moving on but not forgetting what we learn from those who pass through our lives. There is a lot of depth to the plot, but I don't want to ruin it for you, so just watch it!

Anytime you have the likes of Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, you can expect to have a great movie. Of course, Hanks and Bullock play Oskar's parents. Thomas Schell (Hanks) is killed in the twin towers on 9/11, and his wife Linda (Bullock) is left to deal with the effects of her husbands death on her own life, as well as keep Oskar stable, as he was very close to his father. While Oskar's parents were important to the story, they didn't see very much screen time. Oskar was the only one who was in the majority of the film, but he certainly wasn't the only great character. A man (Max von Sydow), known only as The Renter, really added an extra element to this film. He began going with Oskar on his quest and really helped him face some of his greatest fears. There were also many great small performances from characters that Oskar met throughout his journey. Everybody in the story had a common bond, and that bond was Oskar.

Best Character: Oskar Schell, played by Thomas Horn, is one of the most memorable characters of 2011. If you can't tell from the trailer, Oskar is a very different kid. He is certainly not a "cool" or "normal" kid, and it is obvious that his intelligence and quirkiness holds him back from the rest of society. At the same time, he is very lovable, and you really want him to succeed. He sort of reminds me of Mr. Spock, because he truly cannot find the logic behind his father's death. If you didn't know, Thomas Horn, who did a fantastic job playing Oskar, is a Kids Jeopardy champion. Director Stephen Daldry saw Horn on Jeopardy and knew that he wanted him to play the lead in this film. The fourteen year old Horn had zero acting experience before this film, which certainly makes his performance even that much more impressive.

Worst Character: William Black, played by Jeffrey Wright, was probably my least favorite character. He is greatly involved in the end of the movie, but I didn't think he did a good job of expressing the emotion that he needed to, in what is probably THE most important scene in the entire film. This could be Wright's fault or the fault of Daldry, but, whoever there is to blame, they need to be blamed.

I was certainly impressed with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and I don't know why the fancy Oscar critics don't think it is fantastic. The story was great. The cast was great. The end was great. There really isn't much more to making a great movie, if you haven't yet realized that in your lifetime. The connection between Oskar and his mom really got my emotions stirring, and I am no emotional individual. If you are a movie cryer, do bring the tissues. I was fascinated by the results of this film and the portrayal of a family, who lost their father on 9/11. The only negative to the entire film was a lack of humor. There were times when I laughed, but it was a bit awkward, We have all seen movies about 9/11, but I promise that this one is different. I give Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 3.97 out of 5 stars.

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