Friday, March 23, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of completely ripping this movie apart, because I didn't find this to be abhorrently bad. It wasn't good, that's for sure, but not for the reasons most critics hated it.

Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) is a tweenaged student with borderline Asperger's. He is also trying to deal with the death of his father, Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks), who was killed in the 9/11 attacks. He can't even bring himself to say the date again, just referring to it as "the worst day." Oskar physically harms himself in order not to deal with his emotions. Some time after 9/11, Oskar goes into his father's closet and knocks over a vase. Inside is a key with an envelope labeled "Black." Oskar considers this an adventure from his father and sets out to interview every person with the last name Black. Some are inviting, while others simply shut their doors. During the interviews though, he stumbles upon a stranger (Max Von Sydow) renting out his grandmother's spare room. The two of them together continue on Oskar's quest, while also learning they both need to find a better way to deal with their emotions.

I'm going to get in the one positive from this movie: Max Von Sydow. He deserves all the praise he got. Without saying a single word, Von Sydow managed to convey his feelings to the audience in a way that felt genuine. As for the rest, not so much. I don't usually like to bag on child actors, but they couldn't have found a less likeable/more annoying kid. I'm not sure who could've played the role better, but that's what casting departments are for. The film itself almost makes you want to hate it because it practically forces you to cry. I have no problem with using 9/11 as a plot point, but this just didn't do it right. It's quite clear what this movie wanted its audience, so much so that the filmmakers must have knowingly tried to ram it down our throats in order to get an Oscar nod, which it somehow managed to do. Done the way it was, it really is an unnecessary film. Grade: C