Gotta love the boy
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.