There is quirky and then there is actor Thomas Horn’s character in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” a pretentious young man who constantly shakes a tambourine everywhere he goes.
And he goes an awful lot of places. I desperately desired to grab his tambourine and throw it as far away from him as possible (which, by the way, is the politically correct version of my actual aspirations). The only thing worse than Horn’s character is the movie itself, a trivial exercise in emotional manipulation.
Horn plays Oskar Schell, an 11-year-old boy whose father (Tom Hanks) dies in the Wold Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. One year later, Oskar finds a mysterious key that belonged to his dad and embarks on a journey through the five boroughs of New York City. As he roams the city, Oskar encounters several other people who are all survivors in their own ways.
And that is essentially the entire plot of “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close,” a movie which, based on a novel written by Jonathan Safran, features a runtime of more than 2 hours (though it feels like twice that). However, contrary to what it sounds like, we do not get to meet many of the “survivors” Oskar encounters.
Instead, we get mere glimpses of them while Oskar shakes his tambourine and talks in riddles. For a while, those riddles – as annoying as they may be – retain the viewer’s interest in hope that something will occur near the end of “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” to help it all make sense. Unfortunately, there is no such occurrence.
As it turns out, director Stephen Daldry’s drama is nothing more than a message about humanity that aims to extract tears from the audience without actually doing or saying anything that will change their life or at least the way that they look at it. There is no justification whatsoever behind “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’s” existence.
The movie even fails miserably as mere entertainment because its story literally goes nowhere, leaving the viewer deeply dissatisfied. Oskar aptly dubs Sept. 11, 2001 “the worst day.” If you disregard this review and decide to see “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” anyway, regardless of the date, you will likely be dubbing it “a close second.”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (PG-13 – 129 minutes) is now playing at movie theaters throughout the Valley. Visit FirstLook.com for specific showtimes.