Here’s the trailer for Stephen Daldry‘s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer‘s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, based on a script by Eric Roth. The movie has been a curiosity for me for months in part because the book is a piece of post-modernism that doesn’t lend itself easily to adaptation, and in part because Daldry chose a non-actor, Thomas Horn, to play the central role of 11-year old Oskar Schell. Sure, he’s got established stars like Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock as buffers, but that’s still a ballsy move. Get the first taste of what came of that big risk-taking, after the break.
To recap one quick detail, Thomas Horn was a young Jeopardy! winner, and that exposure lead to his casting in this film. He looks solid interacting with Tom Hanks, who plays his father, but his voice-over in the trailer doesn’t sound natural to me at all. Layer in U2’s ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ and my warning bells start to go off.
One of my fears with this adaptation was that it might turn into a simplified and very manipulative tearjerker. While Eric Roth has written movies I like (Munich and The Insider, with the latter being a personal favorite) he’s also written scripts like Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button where, for me, he went way deep into sentiment in a way that hurt the story. And with Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Reader) directing a story for which 9/11 is a central event, I was afraid that tendency would really come forward.
The trailer suggests that it has. Will this film be strong enough to work anyway? The trailer plays as overtly manipulative, but that’s a trailer’s job. If the film feels the same way, might be difficult not to recoil from it.
I think this trailer is going to be a polarizing one. I can see some people really taking to it, while for others the sentiment, the song, the voice-over, and overt 9/11 elements will be a bit turn-off. How did it play for you?
Apple has the HD trailer.
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Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” tells the story of one young boy’s journey from heartbreaking loss to the healing power of self-discovery, set against the backdrop of the tragicevents of September 11. Eleven-year-old Oskar Schell is an exceptional child: amateur inventor, Francophile, pacifist. And after finding a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11, he embarks on an exceptional journey–an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. As Oskar roams the city, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity, who are all survivors in their own ways. Ultimately, Oskar’s journey ends where it began, but with the solace of that most human experience: love.