IT’S 9/11 and Tom Hanks has jumped from one of the towers to his certain death.
Oh no! Not TOM! The All-American good guy, the best-dad-in-the-world, the chummy star of the silver screen!
But ne’er mind – his precocious, tambourine-shaking nine-year-old son is here to solve his father’s final riddle and that will certainly distract us all from such trivial events as a horrifying act of terrorism.
Or so Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close would have you believe.
Young Oskar (Thomas Horn) conveniently never seems to goes to school, leaving him to roam around his New York playground solving the semi-mystery of a key found in his father’s (Hanks) closet.
He similarly seems to have sort form of Asperger’s Syndrome which excuses him from getting the slap he so rightly deserves from his grief-stricken mother (Sandra Bullock).
But back to the all-important key.
Little Oskar decides that said key – found in an envelope marked “Black” – is invested with a mystical power of connection to his late father which inspires him to trek across New York’s five boroughs in search of every person of the same surname until he finds the key’s owner.
Let’s overlook that a pre-teen with a fear of bridges, building and buses could complete such a mission. I’ll let it go. It was in the book.
But everyone welcoming this strange little pseudo adult-child with open arms the moment he knocks on their door with bizarre demands and questions?
The words “lacking” and “credibility” spring to mind.
Anyway long story short – and I do mean l-o-o-o-ng – I found myself really resenting the film’s use of 9/11. Losing a loved one in such tragic circumstances is bad enough but the preposterous whimsy of Oskar’s grieving process trivialises its signficance.
The moment I switched from wanting to slap Oskar to wanting to slap Daldry came when Hanks’ leap of death was served with a side of slo-mo – nothing more than a cheap moment designed to pump tears from the ducts of weepy audience members.
But worst of all, this film has nothing to say – meaning that woe is me, Tom Hanks died for nothing.