[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8601&w=o[/img]Title: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Starring: Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, Viola Davis, Max Von Sydow, Zoe Caldwell
Directed by: Stephen Daltry
Written by: Eric Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer
Studio: Warner Bros
Runtime: 129 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: March 27, 2012
HTS Overall Score:81.5
An eccentric young boy, named Oskar, has to deal with the very unexpected death of his father, Thomas (Hanks), after the fateful day of September 11, 2001. Oskar's father was one of the many unfortunate individuals who were stuck caught in one of the towers that was destroyed from the airplanes crashing into the world trade centers. That day left Oskar to be left with his mother, Linda (Bullock), and his grandmother (Caldwell). Oskar was extremely close to his father and a certain fondness for a particular game they used to play together. This game would begin with a cryptic riddle Thomas would elaborately conjure up and it would send Oskar on a quest to find additional clues and finally an answer. Each time Oskar would find a clue he would discuss with Thomas the details and Thomas would lead Oskar further on the path to finding the answer. Before the dreadful day of 9/11 Oskar was already in progress on a riddle from his father, but because of that day, any further clues would be have to have been found without the aid of his father. So, as an interim solution for self-closure, Oskar decides to finish out the riddle by himself.
Unfortunately, not even Oskar's mother or grandmother can help as this particular game was only thought up and played by Thomas and Oskar. One year after the events of 9/11 Oskar goes into his father's vacant room for the first time and comes across a newspaper article and a mysterious key in an envelope with the last name of "Black" on the front. The news article has the words "Do Not Stop Looking" circled in red, which inspire Oskar to find the answer to the riddle and also find what the mysterious key belongs to.
As Oskar begins his quest to find who or what the key belongs to, he does the most logical thing and checks the phonebook for all listed individuals with the last name Black. He finds out there are hundreds of people in the New York area with that last name; regardless, determined, Oskar plans a way to meet them all. Overcoming his eccentric, fearful ways, he must go through the list and visit them all in order to find the right Black and what the key opens. During this daunting task he begins each visit with an explanation of what his purpose for the visit, telling the individual of what happened to his father and as an unforeseen outcome, the visited individuals share their own lives and stories with Oskar. Each visit is documented with a photograph of the individual and placed in Oskar's notebook in hopes that he will find the proper clue to unlocking the mystery.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8603[/img]I was pleasantly surprised by this film. It is a tender film to watch just because the events of 9/11 still are vivid in my mind, despite being 10+ years later. I think the director knew that and utilized that tenderness to give this premise a real purpose for the audience, and it did -- it struck home to me. The emotion portrayed by the actors brought me back to that fateful day. I really felt sorrow and sadness for Oskar and his family. Despite the event being over a decade old now, the film really did a good job at bringing the same feelings back to me, taking the emotional rollercoaster with Oskar and Linda.
Rated PG-13 for emotional thematic material, disturbing images, and language.
The video transfer for 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' is solid. Contrast was properly done to give mood to the picture, but it still attained a visual pop that allowed a good amount of dimension to shine through. The overall colors were natural and realistic. Detail and sharpness were solid throughout the film giving texture to clothing and to the surroundings in the scene. I did notice a bit of aliasing in some of the sky rises and building on a couple of occasions. It wasn't ever really distracting, but still worth noting.
Obviously, the most important aspect of the audio would be the dialog for this film and fortunately every word comes aplomb. Oskar can speak relatively fast and even amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, singular words come out crystal clear. There aren't many occasions for direct surround effects in this movie, but that certainly doesn't stop it from being utilized. The ambiance of the busy streets of New York is properly portrayed with the help of the surround sound. There are a couple of sequences that come to mind where sound projected through individual speakers. One particular scene stands out in my mind where Oskar's voice overlaps itself as he narrates his lengthy story to an individual. Overall, a solid sound mix that supports and enhances the emotion emanating from the screen.
• "Making of 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'" documentary
• "Ten Years Later" documentary
• "Finding Oskar" featurette
• "Max Von Sydow: Dialogues with "The Renter"" featurette
Truthfully, I really enjoyed watching this film -- more than I expected I would. I didn't know what to expect given the premise, but I think the filmmakers really did a good job of recapturing the events of the dark day in more-recent US history, but without becoming too dark. The direction of the film provided an intriguing way to emanate the emotion that was felt by many during that time without being overly sappy. However, where would this film be without the writing and actors to give the writing life? Thomas Horn plays the role of Oskar wonderfully giving the audience reason to want to follow him on his journey. Sandra Bullock also did a fantastic portrayal of a mother stuck dealing with her own sadness and trying to understand and support Oskar. The video and sound portion of the film are very solid and enhance the emotional drive of the film. I definitely think this is worth checking out if you haven't seen it.
Recommendation: See It!
Official Blu-Ray Reviews Scoring