Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

                                                'Extremely' Well-Acted But 'Incredibly' Meh
                    When this film was announced on Oscar nomination day, it received plenty of backlash due to the mixed reception it received, and probably because of how it took a spot over a crowd pleaser like Drive or Bridesmaids. But while I wouldn't say the film is worthy of the backlash it received, I still don't know if I would give it a whirlwind of praise.
                      Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close follows a young boy named Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn) who lives with his mother (Sandra Bullock) and is grieving over the loss of his father Thomas (Tom Hanks) who died in 9/11. The film follows Oskar trying to find the lock to a key left in his father's belongings and along the way, he meets several people who may have connections to his father.

                      What I Liked About It:
                     First off, I thought the actors were astounding. I thought Thomas Horn did an admirable job for what was his first feature film, so it was neat to see how he was able to carry that kind of weight on his shoulders at such a young age. Sandra Bullock was also astounding as the slightly confused yet supportive mother. Once again, Bullock proves that she is able to successfully pull off both drama and comedy, which she is famous for. Max Von Sydow, who plays a mysterious tenant at Thomas' grandmother's apartment named The Renter, is wordless throughout his screentime yet his performance is able to speak volumes and I liked the scenes between him and Horn. Another thing that I really liked was the scenes between Thomas Horn and Tom Hanks. I thought those scenes were very poignant and make you realize why Oskar really misses his father thanks in part to Hanks' performance.

                    One thing that actually surprised me was the ending. I don't want to give it away for those that haven't seen it, but it wasn't necessarily what I thought it was going to be and I commend the filmmakers for going in the direction that they did and for trying to tell a story about family loss while using one of America's greatest tragedies as the story's backdrop. That was pretty brave, I would say.

                   What I Didn't Like About It:
                  Now, while the actors are terrific, I thought the film itself was a little too "on the nose". It seems like it is almost set up to be an awards film since it deals with a kid with a mental disability grieving over the loss of a family member while forming a bond with a man who is mute and the film is set in the aftermath of 9/11. Although, I will say this, it is better than another awards film that came out the same year (*cough* The Iron Lady*cough*).  At least this one has more than one redeeming quality. I definitely don't think that this film is horrible by any means, but I wouldn't say it's perfect.

                Overall, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a slightly-flawed yet extremely well-acted drama. Even though this film got plenty of backlash for scoring a Best Picture nomination, I would still say give it a watch for the amazing performances from the cast.
Grade: B-            

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