Friday, March 2, 2012


Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock
Max Von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman

Cinema 6, SM Megamall

"This is not a story about September 11th.
It's about every day after."

  • These are my random thoughts on this Stephen Daldry film in bullet form.

  • This is the movie adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's book. The same author of "Everything is Illuminated" which was also made into a movie and it was directed by Liev Schrieber.

  • I never read both books but I do love their film versions. A tinge of quirky element contributed to me liking them. Plus the self discovery process the main characters go throughout the entire movie.

  • But although "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" dealt with the events of September 11 in the year 2001, it focuses on exploring loss through the eyes of its protagonist. A young boy named Oskar whose father was in one of the twin towers.

  • Foer completely takes away the political and historical aspects of the bombings. There are no politics to speak of in the film.

  • Oskar is a hyper active, eccentric boy with a disorder but his father Thomas (Tom Hanks) raised him up by filling his mind with a heightened sense of adventure. He would also encourage his son to shine and be independent minded.

  • After 9/11, Oskar discovers an envelope inside a vase which was part of his father's belongings. It contains a key with merely the word "Black" written on the small envelope.

  • Convinced that the key would hold his father's final message for him, Oskar devices a very elaborate plan to trace down every person with the surname "Black" in New York.

  • He wants to find out the object which could be opened by this mysterious key.

  • As he goes off on his adventure and knocked on the doors of completely perfect strangers, I wondered how safe it was for him to do so.

  • Meshed within the 'adventure' is a complementary side plot which involve an old man (who doesn't speak) staying at his grandmother's apartment. He is simply known as "The Renter". Towards the end, we do find out his true identity.

  • There were also some very disturbing references to the 9/11 incident. Haunting scenes of people falling from the burning buildings. Images of missing people. As well as traumatic (last) phone calls recordings left on answering machines. It gave me chills.

  • The story moves back and forth with very well edited scenes set in current times to flashbacks that show how Thomas was as a father.

  • There are also fast paced snippets of jarring facts often recited by Oskar in his hyper, agitated state. Same technique used in the "Amelie" movie, they were often funny and other times quite informative and very integral of the character of Oskar.

  • After all the frantic pursuit, the real owner of the key is revealed and it was quite anti-climatic but by then I was just in complete awe how Oskar was able to devise such a project that I didn't really mind being disappointed.

  • The project did make Oskar and his mother much closer and they were able to draw strength from each other during their grieving period.

  • Oskar, his family and the people he meets during his search have all suffered loss and have all reacted to it differently. The loss suffered during the World Trade Center bombings become merely one constellation amongst a galaxy of loss.

  • Foer weaves an extremely complex plot that winds - via direct narrative, letters, pictures, flashbacks and even numbers - among all the dimensions of human loss to find answers. The answers will probably be different for different people, but that's what connects them together.

  • Much as "Hugo" was about finding a missing link, with "a key" being the common factor in both films, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" was intense but also a delightful movie to absorb.

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