Release date: June 11th, 2012
Certificate (UK): 12
Running time: 129 minutes
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writers: Eric Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer (novel)
Composer: Alexandra Desplat
Cast: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max Von Sydow
Like they say, things change in the blink of an eye.
On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, millions of men and women readied themselves for work. Some made their way to the Twin Towers, the signature structures of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Others went to Arlington, Virginia, to the Pentagon. Across the Potomac River, the United States Congress was back in session. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, people began to line up for a White House tour. In Sarasota, Florida, President George W. Bush went for an early morning run.
On this day in a quiet classroom my hand was holding a pencil, and the pencil was circling the right answers to some multiple choice questions on a paper. I lift my head up; the instructor was reading her novel behind her desk and rest of the students were all looking down passionately thinking about the questions. I looked down and finished the test after answering two more questions. My hand moved up on top of the page and I wrote 9/11…
Suddenly the classroom door opened, and the vice principal of the school was in tears. “What happened?” asked our instructor. The vice principal replied… “Turn on the television, please. Everybody stay inside until further notice from the principal.”
That sunny day disappeared as our eyes became teary watching the chaos on television.
This tragic event will remain part of history forever and its impact will haunt our thoughts as long as we’re alive. It’s important to be discussed and mentioned even though it’s tragic and haunting as it is part of our life’s experience. And, it is essential to mention the impact of this tragic day, and it’s essential to write how much this is close to our hearts and how much it’s affected us emotionally and mentally.
Let’s not forget this tragic event also generated a burst of national unity and it caused the world leaders to become more committed to international affairs. Many still mourn and remember the loss of their loved ones.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is an important film and one of the best of the year so far. Based on the novel by Jonthan Safran Foer and written for screen by Erik Roth (The Road) and directed by Stephen Daldry (The Reader), this film comes with a question but its answer is hidden in our hearts.
The story is focused on the son of small American family in New York City, Oskar. The nine year old is emotionally affected due to the death of his father, Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks), who died in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. Oskar (Thomas Horn) tortures himself emotionally, physically, and mentally.
One day, in his father’s closet, Oskar finds an envelope with the name Black written on it. In the envelope, he finds a key. To inspire him, Thomas always invented enigmatic quests, so looking at the key; the emotional Oskar is convinced that finding the lock for that key will bring him peace. He decides to embark on an impossible mission, going door to door avoiding transportation to see if any of the people with the surname Black will recognize the key.
Besides the presence of Sandra Bullock, who plays Oskar’s mother, Linda, and Tom Hanks, it is the young Thomas Horn who is dominating. Surprisingly, Thomas is not a professional actor, but this gifted kid shines though. He comprehends the emotional state of his character and delivers a convincing performance.
Viola Davis and Jeffery Wright in their short respective roles have delivered good performances as well. One of the other adult actors is Max Von Sydow, who plays The Renter. A mute old man, who’s written “Yes” on one hand and “No” on the other. Sydow, as always, has delivered a convincing performance, and we will always remember him for this unforgettable character that he so ardently limns in this film.
The script is carefully written for the screen and well crafted to focus on the essential parts of the story. This film is not to exploit the 9/11 tragedy, it’s more of a tribute to the impact of it, and its gravity that still stirs the emotions in our hearts. What purpose the novel has served, the film is on the same quest to serve and bring everyone together to comprehend the importance of that day. It is haunting for some to view the images on the screen, as it is almost like a flashback. Yet, the film’s story, merely based on the nine year old Oskar, takes us all on this journey through the city of New York in search of a message.
The world has changed since the September 11th attacks and how our perception of the world has changed because of it. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is extremely emotional as it is incredibly close to the heart. It is uplifting and soul searing. With the horrors of this tragic day this might make you drop your head on your chest and cry. It will remain with us forever, but like Oskar, we have to find a way to come to terms and move on.
Rohan is the lead US correspondent for Static Mass. Graduating from High School in Atlanta, Georgia in 2003, Rohan fell in love with the environment of the cinema hall and moving images on the big screen, watching Bollywood, American and Iranian films.
As an aficionado of film noir, mysteries, drama and thrillers, he enjoys the films of Alfred Hitchcock, M.Night Shyamalan, Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan. Engrossed by the originality of his favourite filmmakers it opened a door for him to take on writing scripts as well.
The reverence of directors, actors, stories, art and cinema allows him to experience films with an open mind and leads him to believe strongly in the correspondence of films with the occurrences of the real world.