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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

by

Jeff Nelson

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is worth a rental, at best.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
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My last review was for the Oscar-nominated drama Albert Nobbs. As discussed in that review, I defined Oscar-bait for those who have not heard of it. Well, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is yet another one of these types of flicks. However, it's one of these features for entirely different reasons. While the acting still shines above the rest of the film, the flaws differ. Fortunately, there's a bit more of a point behind the story and the plot actually moves along here. From the trailers, audiences were made fully aware that this film would be extremely sad. I prepared for that as I placed the blu-ray disc in my player, although I got something completely different than what I expected.

Believing that his father left him a message before dying in the September 11 attacks, young Oskar Schell embarks on an emotional odyssey through New York City to find the lock that matches a key he found among his father's belongings. Despite the fact that I'm not exactly a fan of these types of movies, there are certainly some big pros and big cons about the screenplay. There are times where the writing is absolutely excellent and the narrative of Oskar is quite interesting and we learn quite a bit about his character through this venture. The viewers are truly following Oskar through his emotional journey and we're left to piece the puzzle together as more and more information is released. However, the movie tries much too hard to be depressing. It isn't naturally a sad story, as any story rooting back to September 11 would be. Instead, Oskar is downright irritating at times and there are countless scenes that are much too sappy. It's difficult to connect with a film when it feels so much like an after school special. I feel that a good twenty minutes could have been taken out to make this feature flow better. The running time is a little over two hours, which feels much too long while watching it. While the ending is a bit unsatisfying, it's still a definite ending that leaves us with light at the end of the tunnel.

Once the trailers were released, I had a feeling that this would be receiving attention from the fans of Tom hanks and Sandra Bullock. Not to mention the fact that the Academy eats this stuff up. Hanks is barely in the feature, but he's fine for the time he's there. Thomas Horn has never starred in any films before this and he delivers a decent performance for a newcomer. There are times where Horn overacts a little bit, otherwise this is an acceptable leading performance. Sandra Bullock is the strongest asset to this film. She comes across as the most genuine character on screen, as she plays the mother of Oskar. Max von Sydow is Oskar's grandfather and he does a fantastic job as a man who will not speak.

Surprisingly, there are some redeeming values to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The film has its ups and downs, much like any other film, although there are more cons than pros here. The screenplay should have made this a more genuine story than having the one goal of making the audience cry. It was unsuccessful in that attempt in my household. By the time the movie ended, much of the movie felt too sappy for me to recommend this. There are times where our leading character feels far too irritating for us to root him on. The acting is solid, especially by Sandra Bullock and Max von Sydow. I'm still absolutely surprised that this was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. This doesn't come even remotely close to being one of the best flicks of 2011. This is Oscar-bait that didn't deserve the nomination. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is worth a rental, at best.

My Rating = Two Stars

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