Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

It's mid-week movie madness! An abundance of movies that I want to see, coupled with the Sundance Film Festival and an upcoming vacation resulted in a Wednesday night trip to see Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

The film "stars" Tom Hanks, and Sandra Bullock as a married couple living in New York City with their 9-year old son, Oskar played by Thomas Horn.

Not much thought is put into a Tuesday morning meeting for Thomas Schell (Hanks) at the World Trade Center. He neglects to tell his wife, or his son that he will be downtown rather than at his jewelry shop, and after the first plane hits the North Tower, the Schell family would never be the same.

9-year old Oskar is not your typical 4th grader. His parents never spoke to him like a child, and his constant need for everything to be explained has made him wise beyond his years. A year after his father is killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks he begins to go through his father's belongings and finds a key. Always the explorer, and always needing an answer to why, Oskar sets out on a journey to find what the key opens.

Through the first third of the film I have to admit that I really disliked the character Oskar. He was a bratty, know it all, who was never hesitant to spout off to his mother, or other adults in his life. As the film progressed, the talents of the young Horn shined through and make you realize just how great of a job he does in this film. The relationship that he forges with his grandma's roommate brings out the best in two characters.

Max von Sydow, and Horn steal the show from the two Oscar winners listed as starring in this film. Despite not being able to speak von Sydow's character plays a vital role in the development of the story. Without his fatherly influence you have to wonder if Oskar will even continue on his journey. Both actors are well deserving of any honors that are bestowed upon them this award season.

There are some terrific minimal supporting roles in this film, Viola Davis, John Goodman, and Zoe Caldwell are relied upon in a big way to deliver the emotion of this film. All three of them deliver in a big way with small parts.

I am a sucker for most things related to 9/11. While the emotion of this film is drawn from that fateful day, it is not a story about America coming together, or America fighting back. It is a story about the coming together of a family among the most difficult circumstances any of us could imagine.

Despite what critics will say this film is absolutely deserving of being nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture. It won't win (and probably shouldn't), but it is clearly one of the top 9 films of the past year. I just hope the Academy doesn't take offense to the misspelling of the main character's name.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Written by: Eric Roth, and Jonathan Safran Foer
Starring: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, and Sandra Bullock
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Would Gene Pick it?: Yes

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