'Extremely loud' mission for dad

By Ellen Siefke
Staff Writer
Nine-year-old Oskar Schnell creeps into his parents’ room. He opens up their closet, and starts searching for anything…anything to help him remember his father, who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Without meaning to, he knocks over a delicate blue vase and it tumbles down to the floor and shatters into pieces.
As he rushes to clean up the rubble, he discovers a small envelope with the name “Black” written on it. Puzzled, he opens it and finds a small key.
Convinced it is a sign from his father, he rushes into his room and opens the phone book, finding every single entry of “Black” in New York City. He thus begins an incredible journey to decode his father’s last message.
The movie “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” details young Oskar’s journey to move on after his father’s death on 9/11, or as he calls it, “the worst day.” This movies takes something so tragic and showcases it through a child’s eyes, making it very emotional yet understandable for anyone. It comes as no surprise that the movie made $10.5 million opening weekend.
Thomas Horn plays the role of Oskar to perfection. He plays a smart-alecky brat when explaining facts about elephants to Abby Black, a possible owner of the key. This made me want to slap him. At the same time, he plays a broken-hearted boy who is overcome by his father’s death, as shown in a scene where he flies into a tantrum and tries to destroy his precious maps of New York. This made me want to cry and comfort him.
Although the acting is very good, I really do wish Oskar was not portrayed as such a snot. For example, from screaming at her about the absence of his father’s body at the funeral to telling her she doesn’t know anything, he constantly berates and sasses his mother. This dampens the sympathy from the audience toward Oskar.
While a more-behaved Oskar would have suited me better, I did observe with admiration his sheer determination as he spent day after day trying to find the owner of the key, walking from house to house.
Something that I especially understand is Oskar’s natural shyness and aversion toward approaching strangers and inquiring about his key; I too, was exactly like him at that age. This is why I loved seeing him going to each house and finding the courage to continue on his mission.
Overall, this movie did a fantastic job of capturing the emotion and perspective from a young boy. Anyone can understand Oskar’s struggles, and all can follow his his incredible journey of mourning and finding himself after a tragedy.