Bring tissues for ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’

Nathan Fisher

Illustration: Binta Loos-Diallo

Friday night I wanted to see a movie that would make me laugh and forget about the looming work of the new semester. “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” was not that movie: it was horribly sad . . . but still worth seeing.

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” begins with the funeral of Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks). Mr. Schell and his wife (Sandra Bullock) are the parents of Oskar (Thomas Horn), a shy nine-year-old boy who possibly has Asperger’s syndrome and does not get along well with others, but loves mysteries and puzzles.  Oskar’s dad created puzzles and mysteries for Oskar to solve that required the boy to explore New York, talk to people and interact with the world around him. Tragically, Oskar’s dad dies in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2011. The movie relies heavily on the 9/11 factor, and Oskar and his mom are devastated by the loss.

One day, Oskar finds a key and a note while rummaging in his dad’s closet that says, “never stop looking.” In an attempt to prolong the memory of his dad, Oskar decides that the key is the last puzzle his dad gave him to solve, and scours the streets of New York to find what the key opens.

The film chronicles Oskar’s quest to unlock the mystery of the key, and his encounters with New Yorkers including a compulsive hugger, a transvestite and: the person who I felt stole the show: actor, Max Von Sydow, only known as The Renter. The Renter is a mute man, who has the words “yes” and “no” written on either hand, and only communicates through writing. Max Von Sydow’s acting was powerful and heart-warming.

Though offering a very faint storyline of a slightly odd kid’s adventure in New York, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” relies heavily on triggering the viewer’s emotions. Nearly EVERY single person in the movie theater cried at some point: no, I did not shed a tear; I was possibly dehydrated. But I do recommend this sad, emotional rollercoaster to moviegoers.