“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Transforms a Nation’s Tragedy into a Boy’s Journey

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Transforms a Nations Tragedy into a Boys Journey

Laura Drinan

Even after a full ten years since the tragic event, the destruction caused by the hijacking of  Flight 11 and Flight 175 still prods at the compassionate hearts of Americans around the country. September 11 is a particularly sentimental day for thousands of families, friends, and those who watched the tragedy of the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” focuses on a young boy whose father was killed on 9/11. Despite the year that has passed, Oskar Schell continues to have nightmares and endure traumatic flashbacks, as he recalls the event and makes his journey around New York. Once influenced by his father to go on his own quest around town, Oskar attempts to overcome his anxiety disorders and find the answers that lie behind a mysterious key found in his father’s possessions.

Where some viewers may have been offended by a fictional plot twist being tied into a real-life tragedy, director Stephen Daldry tastefully combines the two to make the PG-13 drama. The cast was well put together, as it includes Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and  John Goodman. Thomas Horn, who played Oskar Schell, kicked off his acting career with the film, having no prior experience in the business. Despite some of his dull moments in the film, Horn displays realistic outbursts as he portrays an autistic young boy, suffering from depression, infliction of self-harm, and a desperate need to understand the seemingly unfair nature of the world. For his first film, Horn shows a great deal of promise for future movies, and is now among one of the best child actors in Hollywood. Similarly, towards the end of the film, Sandra Bullock’s character, Linda Schell, gradually became a strong female lead. When the majority of the film neglected her, Bullock’s experienced acting truly shows as the plot resolves itself.

The original score by Alexandre Desplat brought much emotion into the film, as it gave eerie tones to the scenes of the World Trade Center falling. The music successfully correlates with the scenes, throughout the sadness and euphoria, and causes a collection of over-powering emotions to bubble up. Not only did the score benefit the movie, but Daldry also used unique filming techniques, such as intriguing shot positions and a real setting in Brooklyn, New York.

Throughout the film, many characters are introduced; each character holds different emotions and histories. The audience goes along on Oskar’s journey and meets these different characters. Each person shares the last name “Black”, which Oskar found on the envelope of his father’s key. Oskar encounters many different stereotypes such as divorced singles, transgenders, elderly pack-rats, Jesus worshippers, and other groups. The diversity of the characters opens the eyes of not only the main protagonist, but also the viewers. Oskar’s discoveries of life and the truth about society are heart-warming. He begins to trust himself and others, just as his father had wished he would.

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” has been nominated for two Oscars, including Best  Motion Picture. While it receives much attention, and just as much neglect from critics, it is certain that the film will have several tough contenders for the award. “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” a tearjerking drama that revolves around a child’s state of mind following the destruction of his family, met and exceeded most expectations and will be remembered as one of the year’s top films.