Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Movie Review! Tom Hanks! Sandra Bullock! Oscar Bait!

It’s December and that means all the “Oscar Bait” movies are opening so it’s hard to separate the films from the awards they seems tailor made to win… or in this case want to win. With two huge stars listed above the title one could think that this was a paring of two of the biggest stars working today, instead it’s really about a young boy searching for meaning or the understanding of death.

Tom Hanks plays Thomas Schell Jr. a jewelry store owner living in New York who is married to Sandra Bullock. On September 11th Thomas ended up inside the World Trade Center and his family was left to pick up the pieces. Newcomer Thomas Horn, plays Hanks son Oskar who was tested for Asperger syndrome but not officially diagnosed. He and his father would concoct wild journeys and puzzles throughout the city, and without his dad Oskar is lost. A year after his father’s death Oskar goes into his father’s closet and accidentally breaks a vase containing a key with an envelope that says, “black” on it… In his mind Oskar thinks that this is another journey his father wanted him to go on, so Oskar thinks up a widely convoluted way to figure out what lock this key fits, and in doing so hopefully find some sort of understanding about why his father died.

Yep, a light comedy… Sandra Bullock is Oskar’s mother and along with Hanks probably gets about 15 minutes of screen time. The film rests on Thomas Horn’s shoulders and he does a fine job. The problem with the film however is that it wants so desperately to get an emotional reaction out of its audience that it feels forced. Like, plot A… Let’s hear Tom Hanks final answering machine message again… Let’s see Sandra Bullock cry… Let’s watch Oskar yell at his mother… It’s a series of moments that try to get a reaction instead of being a full film.

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In fact, the entire time I kept saying to myself, this kid needs a therapist. Even before his father died, he needed serious help. When Oskar starts to hurt himself it just becomes more and more difficult to watch. Like seriously, this kid needs to get psychological counseling…

By the time the brilliant Max Von Sydow shows up, I sat there and was like, oh look… Let’s try to ring more emotion out of the audience. Max Von Sydow plays a “Renter” at Oskar’s grandmother’s apartment across the street for Oskar’s home who ends up going on these wild adventures with Oskar. Oh… and he’s a mute. Yep, a mute. And the fascinating thing is… Von Sydow acted rings around everyone else on screen… I wanted to know the story of why he became a mute instead of this kid running around the streets of New York.

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I understand why Sandra Bullock chose this film as her follow up to her Oscar winning role in The Blind Side. It’s a seriously supporting part, it’s serious (once you win an Oscar you can’t go ahead and do Miss Congeniality 3), and it was with another Oscar winner. Sure, I get it… and Sandra was fine… She was basically playing sad Sandra Bullock with a New York accent (an accent way better than Two If By Sea!). Tom Hanks… He played Tom Hanks… Just Tom Hanks…

If you’re looking for a serious awards contender you can probably skip this one, if you’re looking to relive 911 again… Hey, go see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close!

Until next time kids…

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  1. Eloi December 5, 2011
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