Posted by: ckckred | January 29, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: A Perceptive, but Flawed, Film

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has taken a lot of hits recently, with most critics declaring it not suitable for the Best Picture category at the Oscars.  And it takes a difficult subject, 9/11, which Hollywood has tried constantly to grasp, with movies like World Trade Center and Reign Over Me.  Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close manages to succeed where the two previously said films doesn’t.

I’m not sure I’d put the film in the ranks of my favorite films of the year, like The Descendants and The Artist.  But Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is better than what most critics said (at least in my opinion).

The story revolves around an 11-year old boy named Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn), who had a tremendously good relationship with his father Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks), a jeweler who loves science and his family.  Thomas gives his son treasure hunts where he explores the city and discovers mysteries.

But Thomas goes to a meeting in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and leaves 6 messages for his wife Linda (Sandra Bullock) and Oskar.  These messages are emotionally attached to Oskar, who puts them on an answering machine in a cabinet where he keeps all of his remembrances of his dad.

Thomas soon finds a key in his dad’s old closet, and decides it must be a clue that his father left him.  He finds out it belongs to someone by the name of Black, and he sets out to find the keeper.  He is joined by an old man who rents Oskar’s grandmother’s side rooms (Max von Sydow, who was recently nominated for an Oscar for this role).  He cannot speak, and expresses his thouts and answers to Oskar through written messages or a “Yes” or “No” written on his hand.

The movie does feature great acting from an all-star cast, plus it has a script from Eric Roth (Forrest Gump), direction from Stephen Daldry (The Reader, Billy Elliot), and its produced by one of the most talented guys in the business Scott Rudin.  The main criticism the film has received isn’t all these factors, but the main element behind it: 9/11.  The film pushes 9/11 hard through its characters (Oskar refers to it as “the worst day”), and tries to be a pain-relief.

Does the film succeed in doing this?  You can go either way.  But Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is not a bad film, and might even be a great one.  You can debate whether it should have been nominated for Best Picture or not, but I feel the film succeeds in its action.  And that’s enough what the film wants.



  1. I love Safron Foer’s books, I’ll have to check this movie out.

    • I didn’t read the book, but enjoyed the movie (not as much as I thought I would though)

  2. More irritating than touching, healing or any of the positive things one would guess such a story and cast would produce. This was just a totally manipulative film that tries so hard to be emotional that it almost strains itself and its leading “actor”, Thomas Horn who is probably one of the most annoying kids I have seen on-screen in awhile. Good review.

    • One criticism for the movie (well, for pretty much every 9/11 movie) is that it tried to hard to be sad and emotional. It was better than I expected, but still needs to try to find its own voice instead of copying one that doesn’t really work.

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