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Customer Review

98 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Boy's Quest in EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE, February 24, 2012
This review is from: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy) (DVD)
A Boy's Quest in EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE
Ambitious in concept, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is the love story of a troubled boy whose bond with his father transcends death and events beyond his understanding. Director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliott, The Hours) has put together an interesting study in post trauma and rediscovery. It doesn't always work, but it still registers on an emotional level.

A funeral signals the death of a family member and a boy's alienation to the world. In flashbacks, Oskar (Thomas Horn), who has trouble communicating and may have Asperger Syndrome, adores his father (Tom Hanks) who challenges him with riddles and treasure hunts to meet people outside his apartment. Both father and mother (Sandra Bullock) are loving parents, and the world becomes an interesting laboratory for exploration and discovery. Life is idyllic until 9/11 when everything changes and Oskar is witness to his father's last moments trapped in one of the Twin Towers. A year later, looking in his father's closet, he discovers a key in an envelope with the letters `black'. Who or what does the key belong to? Oskar sets out to find out by systematically tracking down every `Black' in the phone book and visiting each person for a clue. This big scavenger hunt is at best a daunting task.

His grandmother who lives across the street has a mysterious renter (Max Von Sydow) who does not speak and can only communicate by jotting on a note pad or displaying `yes' and `no' written on each hand. The renter takes a liking to Oskar and accompanies him on his quest. This is a search that proves overwhelming as each person they find has a story too. When all hope seems lost, the road leads back to that fateful September morning and opens Oskar to the truth about his parents and himself.

At first you wonder if this hunt will be meaningful and be rewarded or if it is a waste of time. Oskar's obsession keeps him connected to his father; to fail is to lose whatever he has left of that relationship. In a way, it is about trying to make sense of his father's death and coming to terms with it. It is also about the forgiveness of guilt that nearly consumes Oskar.

You kind of think that at some point a miracle may occur or that something profound may happen, but what does reveal itself does not quite answer all the questions, and maybe that's just the point to the film, that life is part mystery and we never truly understand its riddle.

When you take stock of all the people that Oskar encounters, you realize that every one of them can sympathize or has suffered some kind of loss, and how they react to that in relation to Oskar shows how the trauma of loss can be a common bond. You wish you could learn more about some of these people.

Von Sydow gives a memorable performance without uttering a word as the renter who has a personal, family secret. Why does he remain mute? Was he a survivor of something so traumatic like the concentration camps of Europe that he does not speak? In a supporting role, Viola Davis is effective playing a character who figures prominently at the beginning and the end.

In the end, Oskar has learned something about himself and his family, and through his journeys, he has matured in a new post-9/11 world. Ultimately, the revelation at the end is bittersweet and that without the power of forgiveness, closure is incomplete. It also speaks to a part of humanity that we all share.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 27, 2012 3:05:41 AM PDT
I loved this movie unequivically.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2012 11:12:17 AM PDT
Nancy Martin says:
Is this movie subtitled? Why when the actors are American.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 27, 2012 1:17:10 PM PDT
C. Tsao says:
no subtitles.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 7:47:02 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 28, 2012 7:49:20 AM PDT
Leigh Hunt says:
Although Christopher Plummer is a great actor and was good in the Beginners....Max Von Sydow,in my humble opinion,should've gotten the Academy Award for best actor. He is and always will be a great one.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 1:13:29 PM PDT
C. Tsao says:
I saw The Beginners, and while Plummer was very good, Max said more without speaking than many an actor.

Posted on Mar 28, 2012 8:30:20 PM PDT
Do you really not understand why the Hollywood establishment gave Plummer the Oscar over Max Von Sydow? As Michael said in The Godfather. "Who's being naive now, Kay?"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2012 8:48:47 PM PDT
Leigh Hunt says:
AMEN!!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2012 10:14:01 AM PDT
C. Tsao says:
Oh I get the politics and sentiment, just offering an opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2012 6:05:37 PM PDT
reader cook says:
Elderly sometimes cannot hear too well.

Posted on Aug 12, 2012 5:48:42 PM PDT
EugeSchu says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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