Movie: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
What it’s up for: Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role (Max von Sydow)
Deep breaths. That’s all I can do for a while after watching 9/11 stuff. I knew I was going to cry through this movie. I get irrationally emotional with 9/11 stuff. I was basically crying during the previews in preparation. (I exaggerate.) Let’s try and put that aside, though.
Ok, so it’s a 9/11 film…sort of. Oskar’s dad, Thomas (Tom Hanks), died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Thomas and Oskar went on excursions (quasi-scavenger hunts) through NYC. A year after his death, Oskar finds a mysterious key in his father’s closet and devotes himself to finding what the key goes to, sure that it’s part of an excursion his father had set up for him before he died.
The good: They did the emotional stuff brilliantly. There was a lot of suspense. Oskar’s mom is played by Sandra Bullock and she, to quote Rajesh Koothrappali, is brilliant in everything. Max von Sydow was fantastic (more on him in a moment). There were some deeply wonderful surprises.
The bad: It was really poorly written. AUGH. Poor writing destroys my soul. There were plot holes and Max von Sydow’s fantastic character did not get nearly the amount of screen-time he should have. And the last minute just…*sigh*. I hate it when something at the very last moment ruins a movie.
It was also an awkward movie because Oskar falls somewhere on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum and/or has some sort of anxiety/mood disorder(s). Basically what that means is that the character acts, reacts, and speaks in a pretty disconcerting manner. (I hope no one takes offense at this. I certainly don’t mean it that way. It’s just difficult to understand how to interpret his character and what he’s doing. Is he being funny? Is he being serious? It was just hard to tell sometimes.) At least, I’m pretty sure that that’s what they were going for with the character of Oskar. I might be giving them too much credit. The kid actor may have just been over-acting the whole time.
As for Max von Sydow: I absolutely adore the character he plays. I wish that they’d done more with him. There was so much potential there and it was just wasted. However, with the time he was given, he was fantastic. His character had more depth than Christopher Plummer’s, in my opinion. He just suffered from a poor screenplay. It’s frustrating because if the movie had been written better, he’d probably be a lock for the Oscar.
Best picture: No way. I honestly don’t know why exactly it was nominated. If it had been worked out to its full potential, I could understand…
Supporting actor: Unlikely. Unless the Academy decides to be surprising.