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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Blu Ray Review


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Blu Ray Review

Rating: PG
Released by Warner Home Video

Based on the best selling book by Jonathan Safron Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is the story of one boy's life after his father was taken from him in the September 11th World Trade Centre attacks.

Newcomer Horn stars as Oskar Schell, a borderline Aspergers Syndrome sufferer who shares an incredibly close bond with his father Thomas (Hanks). The pair are inseparable and his jeweller father sets quests for Oskar to complete and mysteries for him to solve.

So, when his father is killed in the 9/11 attacks, Oskar is devastated and rejects his mother Linda (Bullock), drawing further into his own world. And his world is blown apart when Oskar one day finds a key in a vase - believing his father's left it for him and with only the clue Black written on the back of the envelope it's written on, Oskar sets about finding the lock the key will open...

However, his quest looks unbeatable with the odds mounting up against him - and Oskar ends up getting the help of Max von Sydow's The Renter, who lives with his grandmother. Unspoken and communicating only via written notes, The Renter begins to fulfill Oskar's father figure needs as the quest goes on...

It's a powerful subject to be tackled in a haunting film like this and there are still some I suspect who may find the idea of a film like this difficult to watch.

It's certainly harrowing in parts and you can't help in places but feel emotionally manipulated as this extremely long film spools out. But there's no denying the wallop some scenes hit you with - one where Oskar tells his mum he'd rather she'd died in the Tower collapse is horrifically shocking but feels so true and real in these actors' hands.

The trouble is that in places you can't help but feel emotionally milked and wish Daldry would have eased back a little on some of his direction; montages of people reading letters and the frankly cheesily appaling freeze frame end would have been better excised from the final cut. Also, a scene of Hanks plunging to his death could really have been left out.

Yet, thanks to a very impressive turn from first time actor Horn gives this something for us to pin our cinema going hats on; it's a remarkably assured performance as the troubled borderline Aspergers syndrome kid hunts for the key to the mystery. But it's not just that - it's the fact, Horn's anger feels real and in line with what a kid would feel when railing against the injustice and unfairness of the death of his father.
Likewise supporting players like Von Sydow, Viola Davis, Hanks and Bullock also give this sense of gravitas and empathy in amongst the brooding.

Scenes of Oskar listening to the six answerphone messages from his father trapped within the towers feel raw, awkward and intrusive, hinting at a grief which is still too new but also alluding to how families of those affected must still be coping.

A veritable weepie in places, this will reduce even the hardest of audiences to tears at times - and while not exactly an overwhelmingly upbeat film, its ending certainly hints at a healing.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close rises above mawkish sentiment by very impressive ensemble performances from its cast; and while it's not flawless, it's certainly an emotional watch which feels raw and true.

Extras: Making of, Thomas Horn talks, ten years on - looking at 9/11 and a piece on Max von Sydow

Rating: 7/10


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