Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
17 Feb 2012
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Oskar is convinced that his father, who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a final message for him hidden somewhere in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother and driven by a relentlessly active mind that refuses to believe in things that can't be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father's closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his own loss to a greater understanding of the observable world around him.
Max Von Sydow
Jonathan Safran Foer
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Movies.ie Critic Review
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE (USA/12A/129mins)
Directed by Stephen Daldry. Starring Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Zoe Caldwell.
THE PLOT: Self-confessed, 10-year old science geek Oskar (Horn) grew up going on quests set by his loving father, Thomas (Hanks), the latter hoping his only child would be forced to come out of his shell by meeting strangers. Even if it meant searching for clues to the ‘lost’ sixth borough down amongst Manhattan’s homeless.
A year after his father perishes in the 9/11 attacks, pint-sized philosopher Oskar has decided to go on a quest of his own, after he finds a key his father had hidden, the name Black scribbled on the envelope. There are thousands of Blacks living in Manhattan. And Oskar is determined to meet each and every one of them, in the hope of solving what he sees as his late father’s final challenge. Cue a very, very long montage. With lots of crying. And hugging. All watched over from a distance by a dazed and confused mum (Bullock, sporting her saddest Lake House face), and gradually aided and abetted – after a little Rear Window suspicion - by the mute old lodger (von Sydow) lodging with Oskar’s neighbouring grandmother (Caldwell).
THE VERDICT: That this film should be included in the Best Picture nominations at this year’s Oscars whilst the likes of Drive, Shame and even the final Harry Potter outing were shut out speaks volumes about Tinseltown politics. Hanks still has friends in high places, even if no one is going to his movies anymore.
A feelgood movie set against 9/11 that plays out like a Reader’s Digest article that got out of hand, Extremely Cloying & Incredibly Annoying is actually based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 bestseller. Should Foer release his book today, it probably wouldn’t have half the impact. Or sales. This is like Wes Anderson if all he cared about was the box-office. It’s Eat, Pray, Love, for kids. Former movie stars Hanks and Bullock try very hard to play it small and cute, but they merely end up extremely cloying. And incredibly irritating.
Review by Paul Byrne