Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Premiering in theatres everywhere on Friday, January 20, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is based on a 2005 novel of the same name. Despite a strong marketing campaign and a star studded cast including Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close did not fare as well as expected on its opening weekend. Only coming in fourth in the box office behind Underworld Awakening, Red Tails, and Contraband, this movie is currently flying under the radar. The story is told from the point of view of a nine-year-old boy, Oskar Shell, whose father died in the attacks of 9/11. A year after the attacks, Oskar finds a mysterious key in his father’s closet. Assuming that the key was left for him as a clue to find something important, Oskar embarks on a journey to find the lock it fits. Through his search he comes to meet a multitude of people from all walks of life in New York City and overcomes many of his own personal problems and the loss of his father. From the outset, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close will drive a dagger into your heart and spend the next two hours slowly twisting it. The wonderful character of Oskar Shell, played by Hollywood newcomer Thomas Horn, maintains childhood innocence while still making very poignant observations of our modern society. Through him, we are quickly introduced to his father, Thomas Shell (Hanks), who is made to be seen as the ideal American father, as well as his mother (Bullock), grandmother, and a mysterious man who is renting a room from Oskar’s grandmother. The family as a whole is adorable, but gives the feeling of being slightly contrived and overly perfect. Every member of the family is seemingly without a flaw except for Oskar. While Oskar exemplifies childhood curiosity and innocence, he has moments when he turns into a brat and goes on emotional rampages. Yet, his knack for saying the truth even when it is painful for someone to hear makes up for his outbursts in spades. Often, when watching a movie in the theatre, one can judge its impact by how the audience reacts to the end. Walking out of the packed theatre on Saturday, the only sounds I could hear were the rustling of coats and the soft piano score that accompanied the credits. Even in the hallway outside the theatre, people maintained a hushed quite that was almost as striking as the movie itself. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a masterpiece that will bring you from tears to laughter, and then back again. There will be moments when you will not want to watch it, because you dread what is coming next, but you cannot look away. It will lift you up and smash your soul into the dirt, but, when it is all said and done, it will renew your faith in humanity. Do yourself a favor, and go see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.