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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (DQ)


Stars: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn, Max Von Sydow, Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright, John Goodman, Zoe Caldwell

Director: Stephen Daldry

A real snoozeroo of a movie concerning a boy, Oskar (Horn), whose father (Hanks) is killed in the 9/11 tragedy. His father has devised elaborate 'treasure hunt'-style games for him, and Oskar finds one of his own when, a year later, he discovers an envelope hidden in a vase. It holds a key, and has 'Black' written on the outside.

Assuming that Black is the name of a person, Oskar begins a city-wide search to fathom the meaning of the key. On the latter stages of his odyssey, he's accompanied by the Renter (Von Sydow), who lives in Oskar's grandmother's spare room, but never speaks, communicating only in written messages.

If, at 129 minutes, the subsequent film doesn't send you to sleep, nothing else will. But get someone to wake you for the last 10 minutes, so that you can shed a few easy tears. It's not director Daldry's fault that the film fails to engage us (although it is way too long): the source material simply isn't that interesting, and its developments are not always plausible. And - spoiler here - we never do find out what that darned key is for.

Of the actors, it's Bullock and the wordless Von Sydow who give the most sympathethic performances.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by deluxe.
129 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 12 Feb 2012