A Youngster with a Key, a Word and a Hunt…

By: Rubal Agrawal, Vogue+ Bureau, Mumbai | April 7, 2012

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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close  ***

Director: Stephen Daldry

Cast: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Max von Sydow.

Quick Take: Psychologically intoxicating, conspicuously erudite saga of a small boy’s rejoinder to his father’s demise on 9/11.

Quotable Quote: If things were easy to find, they wouldn’t be worth finding…

9/11 has been revisited on American screens with chariness that can feel like disinclination. Vogue+ Correspondent Rubal Agrawal divulges that Thomas Horn holds his own among an ensemble of accomplished actors like Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, in the Eric Roth-penned adaptation of the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer


There could have been no better justice, than this adaptation to Jonathan Safran Foer‘s novel of the same name. Though cacophonic, it may sound; the movie has more to its credit, than just being a story of a nine-year-old child, Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn), trying to find the lock for the Key presumably left to him by his father, who died two years earlier on 9/11.  There is a velocity and intensity to the quest of Oskar.

The film approaches its subject matter with great finesse and sensitivity. While terror attacks remain something that looms menacingly in the background, the film traces the experience that followed it. Darker and deeper shades of Oskar’s character are unearthed as the search continues. His encounters with fellow Americans, his rapid train of thoughts, the noise, jumbled sensory inputs, the way Oskar experiences the world, and everything seems Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud.

Horn does a splendid job of capturing the traits of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome without added histrionics and cliché. Sandra Bullock (Linda Schell) delivers another stellar performance as a shattered mom, battling the loss of his husband while trying to make peace with his son.

The Key finally unlocks the whole new world to Oskar. His rediscovery of himself, a crescendo to the effective climax has been beautifully crafted. However the film is another pop-culture analgesic for a tribulation it can’t put up with. It’s not about 9/11 but the impulse to drain that day its specificity and turn into yet another fountain of generic emotions – melancholy, seclusion and happiness. And, yes, you may weep, but when tears are milked as they are here, the truer retort might be rant!

84th Academy Awards Nominations –

Best Picture – Scott Rudin

Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Max von Sydow