Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Oh dear lord, now I’m scared of this movie. A teary ensemble drama about how we’re all connected, yadda yadda? Can you say “Crash: the Less Racist Sequel?” Hey look, they even got Sandra Bullock to come back!
Seriously, I don’t know what voodoo Stephen Daldry holds over the Academy members, but if anyone can play sentimental 9/11 material up their alley, I’m betting it’s him. Oliver Stone failed miserably with “World Trade Center,” and Paul Greengrass’s “United 93,” brilliant though it was, was just too emotionally detached for major recognition (though that was one of the better Best Director nominations of the decade). With Thomas Horn channeling Jamie Bell in “Billy Eliot,” some stellar names rounding out the supporting cast, and Tom Hanks perhaps resurrecting his reputation as an Oscar good-luck charm, we’ve got the makings of a pretty strong contender from this trailer.
Overall, “Extremely Loud” doesn’t really look like my cup of tea (in case you couldn’t tell), but there is one person here where I would be thrilled if he got a nomination: Max von Sydow. Kris Tapley apparently got an early look at the film, and says that the venerable Swede is absolutely stellar as an aging German immigrant who lost the ability to speak from war trauma. We don’t get much of a look here, but that certainly sounds like a plum role; playing a silent part is exactly the kind of gimmicky (woops, I mean challenging) performance that the Academy will eat up. You might recall that von Sydow was #5 on my old list of actors most overdue for an Oscar; how awesome would it be for one of the greatest thespians of the 20th century to finally get some mainstream recognition? Of course, that might mean bumping out Christopher Plummer, also high on that list…
Meanwhile, here’s a little bit of post-awards season fun to look forward to. I’m hardly expecting great things from this, but I don’t ask for much in the January doldrums; two great actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the incomparable Michael Shannon) chewing it up between some adrenaline-pumping action sequences? Sounds all right to me. I like the whole bike angle too; always looking for a little originality in the chase movie formula.
Is that the most French-looking movie you’ve ever seen, or what?