A movie about a son who loses his father, and what he goes on to find.
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I know some of us have seen enough of George Clooney. We all know “The Artist” is a silent film, with a naturally expansive and glorious soundtrack. The “War Horse” is as big as, well …a war … and a horse.
I am the kind of guy who knows a lot of things, or I would like to think so. A very little bit about a whole lot of things. Being everything from addiction counselor to a time share salesman on the beach in the early years both taught me to be, and in some cases, required me to at least able to fake my way through it.
Today I live a little differently, I still fake my way through it at times but have no qualms about not knowing something. When I get intrigued about a particular thing I tend to learn as much as I possiblty can about it.
I really know nothing about the issues of grief and loss in a family, or and the emotional impact on the lives of the families that have had to deal with it. So, when trying to decide whether to write about what has already been said, I’d prefer to defer to Rohan Mohmand, Static Mass’ US correspondent for his review of “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”, by Producer, Scott Rudin , a much less hyped, yet possibly more important piece of art for us all.
It has cured my info-jones and I hope it will yours, too. More importantly, I hope it entices you to see the film as much as it has me. Now, where is the popcorn ?
Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
Reviewed by Rohan Mohmand
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE (CINEMA)
Warner Bros / Paramount Pictures
Running time: 129 minutes
Director: Stephen Daldry
Writers: Eric Roth (screenplay), Jonathan Safran Foer (novel)
Composer: Alexandra Desplat
Cast: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max Von Sydow, Viola Davis, John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright, Zoe Caldwell.
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. Vice principal, in tears, 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 are alive. It is important to be discussed and mentioned among us even though it is 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 has affected us emotionally and mentally. And, let’s not forget that 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 has written “Yes” on one hand and “No” on the other. Mr. 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 immaculately crafted to focus on the essential parts of the story. This film is not to exploit the 9/11 tragedy, it is 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 to this journey throughout the city of New York in search of a message.
The world has changed since September 11th, 2001 terrorist 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.
About Rohan Mohmand
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. Rohan writes about the work of directors on his site Masters of Cinema and you can follow him on Twitter
Rohans original review and more can be found at the Static Mass Emporium.