Thursday, October 20, 2011

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - Trailer

Stephen Daldry has an exceptional track record - three movies, three Best Director nominations, two Best Picture nominations. One of those (Billy Elliot) was a film led by an unknown child actor and the other two (The Hours, The Reader) were tricky literary adaptations (and Best Actress winners). So by all accounts Daldry fits Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close like a glove. Jonathan Safran Foer's source novel is an eccentric, stylised journey through the five burroughs of New York, seen through the eyes of a highly intelligent and unusual young narrator, Oskar Schell, searching for the lock to fit the mysterious key left behind by his father  in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. In the process, the story delves into his unusual family history and those historic last moments before September 11th became 9/11.

It is a difficult novel to bring to the screen, mainly because it's strength lies in the ornate prose and the verbose ramblings of its charming, complex protagonist, but Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Benjamin Button)'s screenplay is by all accounts deeply emotional. The success of the film hinges on newcomer (and Junior Jeopardy winner) Thomas Horn as Oskar. Daldry did excellent work with Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot, so let's hope he can repeat his success here. The obvious Oscar bait is Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks as Oskar's parents, but the real meaty roles are Oskar's grandparents, played by Zoe Caldwell and the legendary Max Von Sydow.

The trailer makes is all seem a touch too sentimental, but it is just a trailer, I suppose. Daldry has no reputation for sentimentality, but Roth, Bullock and Hanks sure do (although Roth also scripted the far meatier The Insider and Munich). Time will tell. In the meantime, Daldry's track record and the story's 9/11 themes leaves Extremely Loud at the top of the Oscar pile, seen or unseen.

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