Incredibly Loud and Extreme Creation

9/11 was an event that I will never forget. I was not there: I was in school - watching the smoke bellow out of the buildings through the south facing window of the fourth floor. I did not loose anyone: no one in my family or close to me was in the buildings at the time. I did not cry: I was too scared.

That seems like a lifetime ago to me now but one thing is certain, I have been unable - no, unwilling - to watch any film made about the event. I felt that it is too soon, too fresh, and disrespectful to those who have lost and to those who were lost. The only reason why a film about it would be made is to capitalise on people's emotions, their pride, and their wallets. When I saw the trailer for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close I thought: Maybe, just maybe, now is the time.

I don't know if it was.

Having respect for Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock (Yes, I like Miss Congeniality) I figured they wouldn't take a role of this nature unless it was worth taking. Needless to say they both gave great performances. Tom (we're on a first names basis) plays an excellent dad and the victim of the attacks (This is common knowledge so I hope I have given no spoilers) - survived by his son (played by Thomas Horn) who is the hero of our story.

I thought the story about the family was beautiful, the journey the boy goes on is immense (if not a very bad example for other children of NYC) and the ending a bit confusing. There is a question that is raised at the beginning of the film which is 'answered' at the end by the characters simply stating 'Look you answered it' without really telling you what the answer is. I'm all for cryptic endings but this was one that left me very unsatisfied.

With all that aside I felt that this film - well this incarnation of it - was unnecessary. The film could have been about a dad who died in a car accident, in a skiing accident, or in a zoological stampede - it doesn't matter. The use of 9/11 was not needed and perhaps it would have been a much stronger story otherwise. I do know that it was based on a book (by Jonathan Safran Foer) and perhaps in the book it had more of a resonance, but I just feel that it didn't carry the proper weight it commands in the film.

To put it lightly I turn to Film Critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times:
"No movie has ever been able to provide a catharsis for the Holocaust, and I suspect none will ever be able to provide one for 9/11. Such subjects overwhelm art. The artist's usual tactic is to center on individuals whose lives are a rebuke to the tragedy. They sidestep the actual event and focus on a parallel event that ends happily, giving us a sentimental reason to find consolation. That is small comfort to the dead."
If the film was a fairy tale about a boy grieving over the loss of his dad I would give it a 7 (out of 10). That is how I am going to see this film, I have to - I can't let this be the first and only film I have or will ever see about 9/11. If I HAVE to see it for what it actually is - then I give it a 4, and that is very generous.

***

In other news, a good friend of mine sent me the video below. An animators take on Creation, it is insane and intense but I applaud his talent - some serious work went into this. My favourite part starts at about 4:20  - if you watch you'll see what I mean.

It's only 6 minutes long - give it a twirl:

Incredibly Loud and Extreme Creation Incredibly Loud and Extreme Creation Reviewed by Unknown on 13:14 Rating: 5

2 comments:

  1. I've heard the book is much, much better
    -Elizabeth

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    Replies
    1. I'm not one for reading books after they've been made into films, I find the experience to be underwhelming... But a part of me wants to find something redeeming from all this. Perhaps I should give the book a go?

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