Sunday, January 29, 2012

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Despite the low Rotten Tomatoes rating, this flick ended up as a Best Picture nominee--so of course I had to see it. The movie is about Oskar Schell (who may or may not have Asperger's or autism) and his journey to find what the key found in his beloved dead father's personal effects unlocks.

The close-to-saintly dad is played by the eminently likeable Tom Hanks and his death in the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11 already is a set up for tugged heartstrings (Note to self: Bring TISSUES to tearjerker movies!!!). Given the premise, it would seem certain that one would be in for a maudlin melodrama. But Thomas Horn as the precocious kid and Sandra Bullock as his mother convey the pain of the loss in a way that's raw and palpable.

The film not only features the top caliber talent of Oscar winners Hanks and Bullock, but Viola Davis, Max von Sydow, John Goodman and Jeffrey Wright contribute nicely as well. The story, however, belongs to Thomas Horn--who possesses one of the most astonishingly beautiful faces I've ever seen.

Yes, the set up is contrived to be an emotional sucker punch. (What in the world is the owner of a small, independent jewelry store doing in the World Trade Center on 9/11?) Yes, it's an unabashed tearjerker. But for emotional resonance (which I've found sadly lacking in most of the movies I've seen of late...), it delivers.

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