Some Couple Reviews Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Glenn: SCR is back, and this time we're reviewing one of the films that's been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Needless to say, a film about a boy coming to grips with losing his father on 9/11 isn't going to lend itself to as funny a review as say, sparkling vampires, but I'll do my best not to keep the review entertaining without crashing and burning.
Kik: You already fail, so, so hard.
Kik: It's been a long time since I've seen a movie like this, one that's so emotionally draining. By the end, I felt exhausted and my eyes hurt from crying. It's the first movie dealing with Sept. 11 that I've really seen, and it really got to me.
Glenn: I was a little teary-eyed myself. Though to maintain a macho image, I would like to claim those were tears of disappointment over my crumby concession stand pretzel. In all seriousness though, I agree that the movie definitely packs an emotional punch. The unrelenting nature of it made me think of Shindler's List, or, in a different sense, Black Hawk Down.
Kik: The movie only worked for me because all the performances were so good. There was just enough humor and mystery to keep all that grief from overwhelming things. The kid was incredible.
Glenn: Agreed. Apparently first-time actor Thomas Horne, who played the (autistic?) nine-year-old boy in the film, came to the director's attention after winning a few rounds on Jeapordy Kids. He has a ton of screen time, and some tricky dialogue to pull off as the precocious Oskar Schell. He was completely believable to me. How about the other performances?
Kik: Well, Max Von Sydow is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. I haven't seen any of the other performances that are nominated for Oscars, but I thought he was excellent.
Glenn: Playing a mute, I think he gave a great performance. He could have overdone things with expressions and gestures, but it seemed like a really natural performance. I also liked Tom Hanks, though he isn't on screen for very many scenes.
Kik: Yeah, Tom Hanks is just always likeable. Has he ever not played the likeable character you're rooting for?
Glenn: Hanks' character was really neat! I may not have his aptitude for puzzle creation, but I aspire to be that enthusiastic about helping our own son learn and grow.
On your Tom Hanks question, I had to dig pretty deep in IMDb, but did find a few possibilities. He played a fugitive on the run from the FBI in a couple episodes of Family Ties, and I recall he was kind of an ass in the Bachelor Party. Then, of course, he wasn't overly likeable in Bonfire of the Vanities...
Kik: Sandra Bullock was good. I think she may have been my least favorite cast member, but that might have a lot to do with the script. For much of the movie, she just seems to be a generic wife/mother figure, not nearly as endearing as the grandmother, or as interesting as Herr Sydow's character.
Glenn: Speaking of plot, I thought it was a really good story. Sure, it's a bit contrived to allow for maximum emotional impact, but I still kinda want to read the , written by Jonathan Safran Foer. book
Kik: Oh, hell no. I've cried enough over this story.
Glenn: There are mixed critical reviews of the film, with some critics saying the story is - to use the words of critic Harry Siegel - "Extremely Cloying and Incredibly False." Did you feel the emotional elements in the film were justified, given the subject matter?
Kik: I suppose so ... grudgingly.
Glenn: Beyond plot and characters, what did you make of it?
Kik: E.L.I.C. was beautifully shot, and the music was good. The time-jumping was (usually) handled well enough by the director that I was never confused about what was going on.
Glenn: I particularly liked the aerial shots in the film. It looked like they were tilt shifted slightly. Looking slightly like miniature models of the city, those aerial shots meshed better with all of Oskar's obsessive mapping for me. There were a lot of very nice visuals in the film for me. The back-to-back shots of the first tower collapsing, followed by Oskar's collapse particularly stuck with me.
Glenn: A tad overwrought, the accusations of Oscar Bait may be deserved, but it is still a very fine film. Horne's performance alone is worth the price of admission.
Kik: Much like Schindler's List, it's an incredibly good movie that I never want to see again.