Film Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

When Oskar’s Dad dies in the 9/11 attacks, he embarks on an unusual quest to reconnect with him.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Cert. 12A

3/5 stars

WHEN super-intelligent Oskar Schell’s Dad (Tom Hanks) dies in the World Trade centre attacks, the prodigious nine-year-old embarks on a city-wide search to reconnect with his departed parent by finding the lock that fits a single key found in his closet.


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Oskar’s Mum (Sandra Bullock) and Grandma struggle to help Oskar heal as he submerges himself in the seemingly impossible task.

The meandering pace briefly picks up when Oskar’s Sherlock-esque capers kick-in, letting viewers share in his youthful excitement, but then all hope is lost when an anti-climactic twist dashes all hope of a resolution for our young hero.

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Hanks and Bullock put in predictably perfect performances, but the role of Oskar was also expertly cast, with real-life child prodigy (he won the children’s version of Jeopardy!) Thomas Horn, making his acting debut.

The emphasis on the events of 9/11 and the collective pain felt by the supporting New Yorkian characters is omnipresent and hard to relate to and, as a UK viewer, I definitely felt I was missing out on something.

Oskar could have lost his Dad in any circumstances and the story would have remained intact, but they’ve gone for the jugular with the relatively fresh (and sellable) Twin Towers tragedy.

I can imagine Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close being particularly affecting in print, making this yet another film adaptation that should perhaps have remained a quiet, personal experience on the page, rather than being turned into a blockbuster vehicle for Hanks and Bullock.

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