Sunday, January 22, 2012
Oskar (Thomas Horn) is convinced that his father (Tom Hanks), who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a final message for him hidden somewhere in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother (Sandra Bullock) and driven by a relentlessly active mind that refuses to believe in things that can't be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father's closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his own loss to a greater understanding of the observable world around him.
The film focuses on Oskar as he struggles to process his father's death. Oskar tries to hold on to his father as long as possible by pursuing a journey to discover the lock that fits his father's key. It looks at 9/11 through the eyes of a child that is intimately affected by it. I had no idea the film was based on a novel of the same name by Jonathan Safran Foer.
I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Yes, I understand some of the criticisms about it, but I think people tend to over think things. True they didn't show a lot of the father (Hanks) or the mother (Bullock), but the story was really about the kid and how he dealt with his loss. There were scenes of the child going about his day the morning of the event. It made me think so much of my own experience. I was in NY that day in a school and I remember exactly what room I was in and how I was facing the window when a teacher's assistant received a call from her daughter telling her what was going on. My first thought was: A plane hit the World Trade Center? How could the pilot not see that big building? Then the assistant screamed that another plane hit the second building. I just wasn't processing this. I thought: Didn't that idiot see a plane hit the first building?! After a few seconds, I realized something was very wrong. Watching this film brought me back to that day.
I loved the quirky twists and turns of the film. It's a little lesson in the geography and culture of New York City and the characters that populate the town. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close isn't a perfect film or radically profound, but it is a nice story of a little boy's loss; it makes one think about what it takes to overcome such loss. It will lead you to examine your own and the mortality of others.
What legacy do you want to leave?