Director: Stephen Daldry
Talent: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max Von Sydow, John Goodman, Viola Davis
Release Date: 17 February 2012
Stephen Daldry takes an oblique look at the aftermath of 9/11 in this adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The film follows a nine-year old boy, Oskar (Thomas Horn), as he tries to cope with the sudden loss of his father. After finding a mysterious key, Oskar sets out to find the lock he hopes it fits and, with the help of his silent companion, a compelling Max Von Sydow, discover a secret about his father’s past.
Daldry’s desire to provide a tidy conclusion suggests the film’s critical shortcomings. By
subscribing to a simple accept-and-move-on mentality, the film naively attempts to explain away the complexities of trauma. Through comparisons made to the Holocaust, it betrays an immaturity, insinuating an undifferentiated experience of collective grief.
Classic Hollywood mush, the film was nominated for the ‘Best Motion Picture’ Academy Award. Extremely trite and incredibly sentimental: the story may jerk a few tears, but it won’t be winning the Oscar.
Words: Elaine Brennan O’Dwyer