Movie Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

I really, really want to make a bad joke right now. Something along the lines of, maybe they should’ve called this movie “Extremely Long and Incredibly Corny.” I guess I just did. Ba dum bum.

Anyway, the movie. This is one of those movies where you watch the preview (and seriously, have you seen this preview? It gave me chills. I blame U2.) and think it could be incredible. Then reviews start trickling in, saying it’s really not a great film. Then you think to yourself, I still want to watch it anyway. What the hell do movie critics know?

In this case, though, they were right. Something about this movie just didn’t “click” for me. It’s odd – it seems like it should work. There are big movie stars (Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock) and they give nice performances. The subject matter is moving and important. It’s based on a critically acclaimed book. What’s not to like?

I had a couple problems with it. My silly parody title above pretty much sums up how I felt. First, “Extremely Long”: this is, objectively, a longer film. But sometimes, subjectively, long films feel short because they’re so great and you don’t get bored watching them. This, however, is a long film that feels even longer as the plot grows more and more unlikely and tedious. I just wanted the kid to figure out what that damn key opened already! Or, alternatively, to chuck it off the Brooklyn Bridge in frustration. Either one would’ve been fine.

Second, “Incredibly Corny.” Okay, one character says that finding the key’s owner would be a “miracle” and I guess this scene is supposed to justify the fact that figuring out who owns the key would’ve been basically impossible. I mean, there are only 400-odd people with the last name “Black” in NYC? For a city of 8 million-ish people, that seems like a low number. And this little kid is going to track down each one of them, without once getting lost or abducted or anything? It’s not a “miracle,” it’s freaking impossible. The other thing I found too corny was who “The Renter” turned out to be. I won’t spoil it here, but that was just…too cheesy.

I did love some of the performances in this movie, particularly those of Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright, who have small – but pivotal – roles. Also, Thomas Horn, playing the lead role, was outstanding. The movie suggests that he has some form of autism, and Horn just nails it, every single little detail. And Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock were their solid, reliable selves. But even they couldn’t make this a good film.

My Grade: C

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4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  1. I knew it had to be U2 to thank for those chills too…! I saw that trailer last time I was at the cinema and have to say it was that alone that made me want to catch this film (damn you U2, with your infectious tunes and irrisistible sentimentality), but I did worry that the film would be a little OTT on the cheesiness. Maybe I’ll take your advice and give it a miss, or maybe wait until the DVD’s around.

    Plus, is it just me, or is this one of the most offputting posters around at the moment? I thought ‘J. Edgar’s was questionable (Leo DiCaprio just looking shouty, and a bit dead behind the eyes), but I am definitely not a fan of ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’.

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