Director: Stephen Daldry
Writers: Eric Roth (screenplay), Jonathan Safran Foer (novel)
Stars: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock
Motion Picture Rating: 12A
Runtime: 129 minutes
There is a power team behind this film. Oscar winner Chris Menges is the director of photography, Hollywood heavyweights Scott Rudin (producer) and Eric Roth (writer) are involved, and the director is Oscar winner Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Reader). The co-writer is Jonathan Safran Foer who is similarly acclaimed (for the novel on which this film is based plus the novel Everything is Illuminated). It is an impressive group and their film has a seriously polished feel to it. It would have been targeted towards the Oscars and unsurprisingly it received a best picture nomination in 2012 (losing out to The Artist).
The story follows a strange 9 year old boy called Oskar on a type of treasure hunt across New York in the aftermath of his father’s death on 9/11. Having completed many city ‘expeditions’ with his dad, Oskar finds a key in his late father’s belongings and sets out to discover the lock. He leaves his grieving mother behind and manages to overcome his many urban fears whilst meeting other survivors of the 9/11 tragedy.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? – try extremely annoying and incredibly trite! This is such a manipulative piece of film-making that it angered me. Some critics have labelled the film moving, uplifting and heartfelt, but I strongly disagree. I become very uncomfortable when any form of mass entertainment aims to squeeze cheap emotion from real life tragedies. This one does just that with 9/11 and throws in some WWII holocaust survivor stories for good measure. It really is a cynical endeavour.
Oskar is highly peculiar, but only might have Asperger’s (as the testing was conveniently inconclusive). His dad (Tom Hanks, who else?) is possibly the nicest dad in the world. Oskar and his grandma talk at night via walkie-talkies. New York opens up and provides an array of quirky characters for Oskar to meet and hug. And so it goes on for 2 hours until the key and lock riddle is solved, Oskar conquers his non Asperger’s fears, re-establishes his connection with his mum and the best picture Oscar nomination is secured.