From the trailers alone, I knew I was in for a rough movie, but I never expected it to be this rough. This movie was filled with some extraordinary acting and it was somehow hopeful and completely heartbreaking.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Starring: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max von Sydow
Premise: Oskar is suffering from the worst tragedy possible, the loss of his father in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Oskar, who has always been a strange but brilliant kid, had been very close to his father. His father would create elaborate scavenger hunts for the Oskar that spanned New York City, encouraging him broaden his socials skills and keep his mind active. Now that his father is dead, Oskar’s relationship with his mother (Sandra Bullock) has become estranged. While left alone, he goes rummaging through is father’s things and finds a key, convinced it’s a final clue his father left him. He believes once he finds what the key opens he’ll be able to have closure.
My Review: Oskar is a strange kid, possibly with Asberger’s, but the tests have been inconclusive. When he finds the key hidden in his father’s closet, he sets out on a city wide hunt for the lock it opens. Casting an unknown actor was the absolute right decision. Thomas Horn played Oskar just right: a bit odd, a bit cold, a bit selfish, barely any social skills, but Horn hit all the emotional punches just right without being melodramatic or maudlin. At times I found Oskar to be a bit annoying, but I didn’t know if that was Horn’s fault or just Oskar’s personality in general. He was pushy and loud, and his panic attacks were unsettling. But maybe that was just the character. Oskar doesn’t understand. He has no social skills, doesn’t know how the world works, and doesn’t understand etiquette. But he’s trying to figure it out. He’s just a kid after all, who doesn’t understand why things do or don’t happen. He doesn’t understand why 9/11 happened, he doesn’t understand why his father’s dead, and most of all he doesn’t even understand himself.
Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks role as Oskar’s parents was not large, so if you go to this movie expecting to see the huge part they play, you’ll be highly disappointed, but that doesn’t mean their roles or performances didn’t pack a punch. Hank’s was loveable and goofy like always, his voice on the answering machine saying three words over and over again has never hit me harder. Also notable was Viola Davis and Jeffery Wright as a divorcing couple Oskar happens upon. Their performances were both simple and subtle. But I think the performance that affected me the most (besides Horn’s of course) was the performance of Max Von Sydow, who played “The Renter.” “The Renter” is a mysterious man renting the room in his grandmother’s apartment who does not speak. If he needs to say something he writes it down, otherwise he has YES or NO written on his hands for the simpler questions. Sydow’s performance was so powerful and he didn’t say one word. Not one single word. But with just a look, or a shrug, or a grunt, or a sigh, he was able to bring tears to my eyes.
And not just one tear, but a lot of tears. I’m telling you, be prepared guys, because there are some absolutely heartbreaking moments in this movies. Be prepared, I warned you.
This movie is most definitely a must see. So stop reading this post immediately and go watch it. You won’t regret it.
Rating: 4 Stars