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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Movies

Film creates controversy


Oskar Schell, played by young newcomer Thomas Horn, displays a performance worthy of recognition whilst acting alongside veteran Tom Hanks who serves as his deceased father, Thomas Schell.  |  Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Oskar Schell, played by young newcomer Thomas Horn, displays a performance worthy of recognition whilst acting alongside veteran Tom Hanks who serves as his deceased father, Thomas Schell. | Courtesy of Warner Bros.

After making its full theatrical release on Jan. 20, eyebrows across the nation are raised over the film many see as an abomination to the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.

Receiving Oscar nominations for both Best Picture and Actor in a Supporting Role on Tuesday, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” stars Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Thomas Horn in a story not focused on the events of the worst terrorist attack in American history, but about nine-year-old Oskar Schell (Horn) finding closure in his father’s (Hanks) untimely death.

After finding a key in his father’s closet a year after the World Trade Centers collapsed, Oskar makes it his mission to find the lock to which it belongs, coming endlessly through the five boroughs of New York on foot with the help of a man who lives in his grandmother’s apartment across the street, known only as The Renter (Max von Sydow).

Screenwriter Eric Roth did incredible justice to the novel of the same title by Jonathan Safran Foer. Transforming the book — which follows the often-sporadic inner workings of Oskar’s mind — into a script was no easy feat, but he left few key plot lines untouched and added very few elements that weren’t found in the novel.

von Sydow’s nomination for Actor in a Supporting Role is questionable, but not undeserved. Though he has no spoken lines, he guides Oskar’s journey perfectly through handwritten notes.

However, newcomer to the big screen Thomas Horn could have easily received an Oscar nomination for his performance.

With his only experience in front of the camera being children’s “Jeopardy!” in 2010, his portrayal of an incredibly intelligent, yet extremely panicky Oskar Schell was heart wrenching. He absolutely nailed the personality traits and speech patterns found in children with suspected-Asperger Syndrome through perfectly-delivered narration, monologues and onscreen interactions with Bullock, Hanks and von Sydow.

Such harsh criticism and backlash the film has received is completely unwarranted.

Before refusing to see the film because it’s been perceived as offensive, remember that “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is not insensitive to the national tragedy 10 years ago; it is a story about conquering fears, honoring a fallen loved one and putting the pieces of a broken heart back together.

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