Movie Title: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
First Watch / Repeat Viewing
Running Time: 2 hr. 9 min.
Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo
Where did I watch it?: Home
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is the story of an adventure interrupted. Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) is an autistic boy with a fear of talking to people and making conversation among many other things. His father Thomas (Tom Hanks) creates a myth about there being a sixth borough of New York that was consumed by the other boroughs. He sets his son off with the task of talking to people around New York to find out where. In the middle of this task Thomas is killed in the World Trade Center attacks. Oskar has a huge whole in his life. He starts going through his father’s things and accidentally breaks a vase. Inside the vase he finds a mysterious key that Oskar builds a mythology around.
Instead of asking his mother about the key he sets off on a quest around New York City to try and track down the lock that matches the key. He needs to have the mystery in order to continue to feel that his father is still around. It is a sad movie in many regards. Sandra Bullock plays Schell’s mother who is more or less absent after the twin towers fall and her husband perishes. Oskar is emotionally distant by nature and is even more so after 9/11. He had always been closer with his father. Max von Sydow steals the show in the middle part of the movie as a mute that accompanies Thomas on his search.
The movie is at times an emotional powerhouse. On the other hand it also feels like 9/11 exploitation. I saw no particular reason the movie would need to be set around 9/11. I feel like it could have had to do with any loss and that the father could have died in practically any way. The movie is also too artistic for its own good. A drop of water turning into the falling man from the World Trade Center is artistic license that did not need to be taken. There is far too much imagery connected to the falling man and it felt unnecessary. The movie was made a decade after 9/11 and parts of it rang hollow.
At times emotionally moving, but it also has a significant amount of missteps. See it, but you might not like it.
Tomorrow’s Movie: The Sound of Music (1965)