Extremely powerful and incredibly sad
The movie adaptation of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is hard to watch for those who have read the book—and for those who have not. The movie as a whole is thoroughly depressing and consistently uses 9/11 to evoke strong and deeply tragic emotions.
The plot of the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close revolves around the Schell family. The father, Thomas Schell, is killed on 9/11, leaving behind 9-year-old Oskar and his mother.
Oskar, in his grief and desire to learn more about his dead father, discovers a key fitting an unknown location. Oskar places the task upon himself to find where the key fits, and encounters many people and stories along the way.
The novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close concentrates on the stories and journey Oskar took rather than the cause of them. Instead of focusing on the tragedy of 9/11, author Jonathan Safran Foer focuses on the tales of the characters outside of one isolated event. Foer described many more nuances in the journey of Oskar, gaving it more complexity than the film.
The first conception of the main character of Oskar Schell in Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel is quite different from the movie adaptation.
The Oskar in the novel was equally as intelligent and socially inept as the Oskar in the film, yet the film’s version lacked the quirky imagination the 9-year-old literary character held. The film cut Oskar’s endearing rants about seemingly off-track matters entirely and instead transformed Oskar into an angry, sad and curious little boy.
Despite the one-dimensional aspect of the film, it still got a nod from the Oscar film academy (and more than likely not just because the main character was named after them).
The Oscar nod is understandable. The cinematography is attractive, and the concept of the film certainly elicits strong and tangible emotions. Yet the film forces it. The Academy’s recognition may be there, but the actual Oscar is doubtful.
One award nomination that is absolutely warranted is Max von Sydow’s nomination by the Academy for best actor in a supporting role. Sydow played The Renter, a character later revealed to be a very crucial person in Oskar Schell’s life.
Only able to respond with “yes” and “no” tattooed on his hands, or by writing a note, the Renter could be arguably the best character in the film.
Overall, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as a film was emotionally draining, manipulative and powerful to an overwhelming degree.
The event of 9/11 is extremely important and never to be trivialized; however, it overshadowed the heart of the quest of a boy coming to understand the world around him and the people that occupy it.