Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
This Tom Hanks-starring adaptation of the 9/11-themed bestseller lacks poignancy
Are the memories of the 9/11 attacks now distant enough to justify their use at the heart of a personal tale of loss and grief? Stephen Daldry’s beautifully crafted adaptation of the Jonathan Safran Foer bestseller leaves the question largely unanswered.
Thomas Horn stars as Oskar Schell, a precocious, youngster whose beloved father Thomas (Tom Hanks) died on what he calls ‘The Worst Day’. He has now discovered a mysterious key and set himself the task of discovery where it fits. His impossible quest assumes fable-like qualities as he searches the five boroughs of New York, grows to rely on the kindness of strangers and struggles to keep the memory of his father alive.
There are moments when Extremely Loud shines, especially as Thomas bonds with his grandmother’s mute lodger, played by an effortlessly touching Max Von Sydow. A lot of the time, it has a fairytale innocence that doesn’t completely ring true with our memories of the real events. This is a classy production with radiant cinematography from Local Hero veteran Chris Menges and a striking performance from newcomer Horn but it is also a contrived tearjerker that is neither as poignant nor as profound as it might like to be.
General release Fri 17 Feb.