Gotta love the boy

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Movies -

RE­VIEW EX­TREMELY LOUD & IN­CRED­I­BLY CLOSE ( PG) ★★★■ Di­rec­tor: Stephen Daldry ( The Reader ) Stars: Thomas Horn, San­dra Bul­lock, Tom Hanks, Max von Sy­dow A son rises in the mourn­ing

THOUGH a best picture Academy Award nom­i­nee, this lav­ish adap­ta­tion of the Jonathan Safran Foer best­seller has suf­fered some toxic ad­vance word- of­mouth around the traps. Mer­ci­fully, while Ex­tremely Loud &

In­cred­i­bly Close does have its share of prob­lems – surely to be ex­pected from any fam­ily- cen­tric drama ref­er­enc­ing the 9/ 11 at­tacks – it is not that bad.

Just very much the stuff of ac­quired tastes, that’s all.

The film asks a lot of its au­di­ence, par­tic­u­larly as the is­sue of 9/ 11 is al­ways there in the nar­ra­tive, push­ing and prod­ding the viewer to feel some­thing they have con­di­tioned them­selves to re­sist. Which is not to say Ex­tremely Loud &

In­cred­i­bly Close is the kind of film that is set­ting out to re- open old wounds in any way – but it is walk­ing quite pur­pose­fully over sen­si­tive ter­ri­tory.

Not ev­ery­one will wel­come the in­vi­ta­tion to come fol­low, es­pe­cially with a lead char­ac­ter as pre­co­ciously man­nered as Oskar Schell ( new­comer Thomas Horn).

There is good rea­son for this nine- yearold’s rather clin­i­cal ob­ses­sion with the death of his fa­ther ( Tom Hanks, both pic­tured) in the World Trade Cen­ter at­tacks. Per­haps the film is not clear with its as­ser­tion that the boy is liv­ing with a mild case of Asperger’s syn­drome.

Some view­ers will find the child too an­noy­ing to han­dle in a two- hour movie in which he ap­pears in ev­ery scene. Again, this is just the way it is for

Ex­tremely Loud & In­cred­i­bly Close. You’ll know within sec­onds of meet­ing Oskar whether you’ve done the right thing buy­ing a ticket here.

The film, for the most part, is con­tent to mosey along at Oskar’s side as he can­vasses the length and breadth of New York City, com­plet­ing an un­usual quest de­vised by his dad be­fore he died.

Oskar briefly in­ter­acts with most he meets along the way, with the sole ex­cep­tion of an el­derly boarder in his grand­mother’s apart­ment, a mys­te­ri­ous man known only as The Renter ( Max von Sy­dow).

It takes some time, but The Renter will forge a di­rect con­nec­tion with Oskar that will elude all oth­ers in the boy’s life – in­clud­ing, quite sadly, his shell- shocked mother ( San­dra Bul­lock, won­der­ful here).

Over­all, Ex­tremely Loud’s grasp of the many and var­ied forms that the griev­ing process can take is to be ap­plauded. And some­times, even cher­ished.

Even if the sticky- sweet screen­play by Eric Roth ( of For­rest Gump fame) should come with a warn­ing about ex­cess sugar con­tent.

Per­haps best en­joyed by those who loved the book with­out reser­va­tion.

LEIGH PAATSCH

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