by Joanna Orland
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a film based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated – one of my favourite novels, not one of my favourite films. As with Everything is Illuminated, the director of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close had a challenge on his hands taking the work of Foer and turning his quirky characters and detailed dialogues and turning them into a watchable film. Luckily for director Stephen Daldry, he did a much better job with this film than what was done with Everything Is Illuminated. This film isn’t just watchable and nostalgic of a lovely novel, but it’s a film in itself!
9 year-old Oskar Schell is an intellectual and sensitive child trying to make sense of his dad’s death in the events of 9/11. He finds a key amongst his father’s belongings and begins the search for its lock. Along the way he meets a number of characters with the surname Black, as well as his paternal grandfather played Oscar-Nomination-Worthy by a silent yet strong Max von Sydow.
Max’s performance and the child’s first name are not the only Oscar-Worthy items about this film. It’s also nominated for Best Picture don’t you know! Rightfully so. This was a surprisingly good film. It had the right level of schmaltz without being too sickening, it had interesting characters and in spite of having a wise-beyond-his-years child as the lead, it gets away with it as he has a tolerable excuse – possible Asbergers and the only plot device driving this film forward.
The only complaint I have about this film, besides the occasional schmaltz, is its use of music. My other audio fiend of a friend disagrees with me completely and loved the use of music, but I felt it was a bit too saturated with the tunes, as if I wasn’t able to decide what I was feeling on my own without the music insinuating so. However, the lack of music and sound on occasion was great and really impactful. Overall, only me and my friend care about the sound of this film, so you should all see it based on its watchability and Max von Sydow’s performance. So do! I’m totally going to read the book now!