Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Directed by: Stephen Daldry Starring: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock Rating: Not Yet Rated Release Date: December 25, 2011 (limited)
TRAILER SCORE: 8/10
Thoughts by TSR: This film was always going to be met with cries of OSCAR BAIT! It’s true that it’s an awards play if there ever was one, and it may come across as manipulative in spots, but most of it feels genuine. I got goose bumps at a couple points and won’t be surprised if the film leaves a lot of audiences in tears.
We’re all familiar with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, but someone we had no prior performances to go off of is teen “Jeopardy!” champion Thomas Horn. He plays a boy searching post-9/11 New York City for the lockbox that fits a key his father left him. It can be dicey having a child actor leading a film, even more so when said child actor has no prior acting credits. Horn has been my biggest question mark, but luckily he looks great. It’s not surprising Daldry cast well; his first film was Billy Elliot, featuring an excellent first performance from Jamie Bell. The sequence where Horn reacts to a plane flying overhead is powerful out of context and I look forward to seeing how it plays in the film.
The rest of the cast appears equally good. Horn and Hanks share a nice moment when the boy shows his father the item he found from every decade. Seeing that relationship play out could bring about a lump in my throat. I was firmly anti-Bullock during her Oscar-winning year, but I’m happy to say she looks quite good as the boy’s mother. The biggest impression is left by Max von Sydow. Despite only being in the trailer for a few seconds – and having no dialogue – the scenes between he and Horn are the ones I’m most interested to see. He’s heartbreaking in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and could very well match that here.
Some are quick to call it cloying, but I see some great performances and a potentially moving story. I haven’t read Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, but I have a copy on my bookshelves. I have a habit of reading the source material before seeing a film and if I do I might have a better sense of what to expect from Daldry and Eric Roth’s adaptation. For now this trailer leaves me hopeful that Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close will be a high quality, touching experience.