Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close Blu-ray Review
After Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) loses his father (Tom Hanks) in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the young boy becomes obsessed with finding out to what a hidden key of his father belongs. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE surprisingly went by relatively unnoticed despite being nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and having two mega stars in Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. And I can’t for the life of me figure out why. With such a sad yet uplifting story, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE takes you on an emotional roller coaster that I found to be positive on so many levels.
In order to find the lock that this mysterious key fits, Oskar meticulously looks for clues and thoroughly plots out a plan to discover the person who gave it to his father. The only thing he has to go on is that the last name is “Black.” Eventually he finds help in the most unlikely person, a strange old man who is renting a room from Oskar’s grandmother known only as “The Renter” (Max Von Sydow). Due to his own traumatizing event, The Renter does not speak but relies upon writing on a notepad to communicate and the words “yes” and “no” permanently marked on each of his hands. This relationship is sweet and humorous keeping Oskar in check with some adult guidance through NYC – after all he is just a kid.
As young Oskar goes on his very determined journey through New York City, he meets all sorts of people and characters. As they hear his story, they all sympathize in their own way as they too have a story to tell. Some even yell or turn him away in an unkind fashion but most are quite loving and sympathetic. What director Stephen Daldry (THE READER, THE HOURS and BILLY ELLIOT) does so masterfully is creating such diverse characters that no matter how they respond – good or bad – they are all likable and we understand and sympathize as we all lived through that tragic day. No one is denying the reach of the travesty, as everyone in the United States felt the pain of that day. But I can’t imagine what it was like to live in New York City at that time. Daldry presents each character as an individual that we immediately respond to no matter how quickly they may be on screen.
The acting in EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE is pitch perfect. Tom Hanks carries the appropriate weight for such a small role. As Oskar’s father, Hanks has the ability to completely win the audience over in a very short amount of time. When his scenes are finished early on, his presence seems to be a constant even though he doesn’t appear on screen other than by a few very effective voice messages. Likewise as Oskar’s struggling mother, Sandra Bullock nails the duality of recently losing her husband and dealing with a child who is continually pulling away. Max Von Sydow, who has several memorable supporting roles like in THE EXORCIST and MINORITY REPORT and received a well-deserved Oscar nomination, is the perfect balance against our young lead. But the film hinges on the performance of young Thomas Horn. I would venture to say depending on how you feel about him, will make or break the film. Personally, I found him extremely believable as a very intelligent child who needs reason and structure but struggles socially.
I think in the wrong hands EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE could come off a little too forced emotionally but for me it hit all the right notes. As one of the most recommendable films of last year that I believe just about everyone will enjoy, I couldn’t help falling in love it.
Video: (1080p High Definition 2.4:1) A wonderful picture for EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE.
Audio: (DTS-HD MA 5.1) EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE finds the details of New York City and pinpoints them exclusively.
Making Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (19:47): A general look at how the film was made.
Finding Oskar (7:50): A little segment about EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE main star Thomas Horn. From a genius kid on Jeopardy who speaks Mandarin to starring in a film with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, Horn has had a pretty eventful life in a short amount of time.
Ten Years Later (11:25): This is a touching segment about Daniel McGinley, an actual victim from 9/11 whose picture is shown on the remembrance wall during EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
Max von Sydow: Dialogues with The Renter (44:00): A thoroughly deep inside look at the Oscar nominee’s scenes as he is getting ready in makeup and working with the actors and director. For those interested in the filmmaking and viewing the actors perspective and process I highly recommend this feature.