So what did RAMA think of EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE? Make sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
9/11 is a touchy subject, no matter how well-made the films are, like United 93 and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, for example, there will always be a certain level of viewing discomfort and questions of whether or not it’s too soon for such depictions to exist. EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE is no different but I think screenwriter Eric Roth and Oscar nominated filmmaker Stephen Daldry, whose film The Hours I admired, manage to approach this adaptation in a respectful manner from the perspective of the young character Oskar as he struggles through the difficulties of letting go the memories of his dad who was in one of the towers when they collapsed on what he’d like to call ‘the worst day’…
Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” tells the story of one young boy’s journey from heartbreaking loss to the healing power of self-discovery, set against the backdrop of the tragicevents of September 11. Eleven-year-old Oskar Schell is an exceptional child: amateur inventor, Francophile, pacifist. And after finding a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, he embarks on an exceptional journey–an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. As Oskar roams the city, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity, who are all survivors in their own ways. Ultimately, Oskar’s journey ends where it began, but with the solace of that most human experience: love.
Heart-wrenching, life-affirming, hopeful, at times aggressive but in the spirit of self-healing, EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE will press your buttons and get on our nerves, you’ll either be irritated by the character Oskar and you’ll want to to walk out of the theaters, or you’ll find away to come to understand him.
Newcomer Thomas Horn, the actual young winner of Jeopardy game show, proves that not only is he smart at countless subjects, he’s also got the chops for acting.
Horn gives an extraordinary performance, Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks are some of the backbones of this film’s emotional power. And one of cinema’s treasures, Max Von Sydow says so much by not saying a single word. He’s a screen legend who’s still got it.
Because Oskar has a condition called Asperger’s syndrome, as soon as he focuses on one thing, he’ll focus on it so much, everything fades away and he’ll insist on that one thing for as long as he could hold on to it. He interprets the world differently, he speaks out facts and information.
His relationship with his dad is built on his dad’s knowing how to connect with him.
Oskar feels that he has to try to be normal, but both his parents see him as perfect and he receives that signal much stronger from his dad.
But the film is not about Asperger’s syndrome or autism, nor it is about the incident/tragedy either, that’s only the foundation, 9/11 is the backdrop.
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE is a loss-related film through the eyes of someone whose fears and anxieties are just like everyone else’s when we deal with grief, but Oskar openly expresses those fears, there’s no filter to it if you will, he lets it all out, something that the rest of us probably would need years of therapy to finally be able to do the same.
What I’ve always admired about screenwriter Eric Roth (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), who won Oscar for adapting my favorite film of all time, Forrest Gump, is that when it comes to working on adaptations, he knows which changes he needs to make appropriately and the goal that he always sets on his mind when goes about it is to always prioritize the relationships.
Whatever changes he makes, from the original material, is always meant to strengthen the relationships of the characters.
In EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE, in his search to find the lock that the mystery key fits into, in his search to be closer to his dad, Oskar becomes more and more distant from his mother but he later on finds out that his mother is much closer to his heart than he ever gives her credit for.
The goal is reconciliation and finally realizing that it’s ok and it’s time to move on without his dad.
GRADE: 4 out of 5
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