The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max Von Sydow

The voiceover is a controversial weapon in a film-maker's armoury. I'm not a fan of it but so long as it merely supplements the visuals  rather than describing them I'm fine with it. For a good example see "Sunset Boulevard", for a bad example watch this (no actually don't, take my word for it).
When the voiceover narration comes from a child it's particularly irksome, as if the film-makers think we'll pay more attention because hey, kids tell it like it is. If said child is nine years old and describes himself as a Francophile and a pacifist yet believes his father's story of how New York once had a sixth borough which vanished, I'm not getting on board.
This is without a doubt the most offensive piece of work I can recall having the displeasure of sitting through. It's offensive to me as a filmgoer that a writer and director think I'm such an idiot that they have to hammer home the plot every five minutes in the most crude, artless fashion possible. In practically every scene Horn reminds us his father died in the World Trade Center, sometimes almost straight to camera. At one point halfway through he recounts the entire first half of the movie just in case we weren't paying attention. If a screenwriter has such little faith in his ability to tell a story with pictures he needs to become a novelist. Of course a novelist probably won't make as much money so we have to suffer through verbose movies written by hacks who have no place in the medium. The writer here is none other than Eric Roth who between this, "Forrest Gump" and "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" has committed enough cinematic atrocities to warrant the drafting of a UN resolution.
It's bad enough insulting cinemagoers, we pay our money, we take our chance. What's deeply offensive is the 9/11 factor used here. This is simply the story of a boy coming to terms with his father's death, there is absolutely no reason to bring that horrific occasion into play, it's nothing more than a case of tragedy as marketing tool. I really hope anyone who suffered a loss that day never has to sit through this cheap and nasty exploitation of their grief.
You would think it impossible not to sympathise with a child who lost his father but Horn's character is deeply unlikable, the sort of product of liberal parenting who grows up to be a serial killer. If any kid spoke to me in the tone he addresses adults with he'd have a few more bruises to add to his self-imposed collection. Hanks, playing his father in flashback, comes across as the sort of parent who thinks his sperm is somehow made of a better formula than anyone elses, thus raising his kid with a sense of self-entitlement that will only be rectified with a good hiding somewhere later in life.
As if things couldn't get any worse, Von Sydow enters the action as an elderly German who refuses to speak, the implication being he saw some "bad stuff" in the old country. This means we have to endure endless scenes of him writing his dialogue in a notepad and holding it up to us, further proof that Roth is working in the  wrong medium. Even the warmth of Von Sydow's grizzled face can't give this sick movie a pulse. Oh, and American writers, I know 9/11 was the worst atrocity in your history but don't try and equate it with the holocaust, sorry but you just don't get to do that.
This despicable piece of cynical Hollywood marketing should be avoided by anyone with a conscience. The only reason I'm not giving it a zero out of ten rating is the fact that it wasn't shot in 3D. How dare you Hollywood, how dare you.