"A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001." imdb.com
" If it's easy to find, it's not worth finding, says Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks), father to nine year old Oskar (Thomas Horn) with whom he has a special rapport. Curiosity is the gift that Thomas gives Oskar, through the games they play together. They have lively oxymoron wars and reconnaissance expeditions requiring analytical thought and tenacious investigations. It's a bit like amateur detective work. But then comes what Oskar calls 'The Worst Day', the shocking events of 9/11, when their relationship is abruptly and cruelly ended. A mysterious key is the trigger that sets the troubled boy on a journey - to come to terms with the unfathomable." Louise Keller Urbancinefile
I was attracted to this film because of my affinity with New York. It sounded like such a different way to explore 9/11. There have been some great reviews about this Stephen Daldry [Billy Elliot] adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel.
Pain is a surreal thing and grief is a palpable disorientation for many people. To me these are the kinds of themes explored in 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.' Oskar Schell searches for answers and deals with his sense of loss and the particular story he has lived out. The many people Oskar meets all have their own stories. Oskar avoids bridges and the subway and walks a lot. He carries a tambourine to shake when feeling stressed. I wonder what others do at these times? Oskar is in some ways very alone amongst all these people. How does anyone find God in these times?
We can get a picture of the bigger themes as many others would have experienced them. There are disturbing images and any such film is open to criticisms about 'exploitation' of the 9/11 events. The very opening vignette depicts the renowned image of the so called 'falling man' picture that went around the world.
Some parts of the film are a bit clunky. The most moving scene between Oskar and his mother Linda [Sandra Bullock] talk about Oskar's search seems a sudden change... Despite what I liked about it I do agree that it didn't really quite 'get there'. Maybe the fairytale like premise didn't quite allow the full exploration. I appreciated it enough to watch it again!!
Check the film website here