Yesterday I finally made it to the cinema and watched the movie "extremely loud and incredibly close". As I could not make it the weekend before I was very excited. And it was worth it.
The story is about the nine-year old Oskar, who is very gifted in certain fields but has difficulties to communicate due to a disorder from the autistic spectrum. Oskar has a very intense relationship with his father, who died during the attacks in NYC at 9/11. When Oskar came home from school on "the worst day" he was the one to hear his dads messages on the answering machine calling from the WTC. When the phone rang one more time when he was actually there he was paralyzed by what was happening and unable to pick up the phone. Traumatized by the event and missing his beloved one he did not dare to enter his dads closed for one year. That day he gently touched his clothes and smelled the smell of his father. And he found his old camera which he got from his dad. By taking the camera from the board a blue vase fell down and into pieces. That is were Oskar found a key, which he was sure of belonging to something which would bring him closer to his dad again. His analytical mind helped him to develop a plan to find the lock which can be opened with it, and he started looking. A journey through all boroughs of New York began and the boy has been facing a lot of challenges every day: He is afraid of everything which seems not safe. Therefore he is walking everywhere instead of taking the public transport, he does not like loud noises, bridges, swings, airplanes, the list
could be continued easily. Basically he was afraid of almost everything. In the end he could get over many of his fears and was able to solve the mystery of the key. (I am not going to
spoil the end here, as the movie is still on)
Next to the main story line, the movie touched a couple of other aspects in life: The relationship between the boy and his mother seemed rather difficult. Oskar decided that his father can "think" like him and completely understands him (remember, he is very autistic). His mother showed him imposingly that she can also "think" like him. The love between son and mother could be established (for his perception, of course his mother loves her son). Second, Oskar treats everyone the same way. If they were living on the street, experiencing a divorce or a normal family. Everyone had their story to tell. The equality element was shown here perfectly well, as it can only perceived by an autistic child as they do not judge. Another example is the autism aspect in general: Autism is mostly, or - at least in many cases considered socially abnormal. Autistic childs are more likely to be apprehended as cause of trouble or obstacle for the parents rather than a full and valuable member of society - with all its facets! The story of extremely loud and incredibly close was capable of demonstrating this. A further building block of the movie were the events of 9/11. They were depicted close and real. Through the unfiltered perception of the eyes and ears of the boy Oskar the audience could re-experience the events of the NY attacks. Also the way he analyzed it contained no emotion. A last thing which was inherent was that the element "money" did not appear! It has not been mentioned, shown or in any way talked about, it was NOT important!
The titles message re-appeared in many shapes during the movie. The noise of the city, of trains, airplanes, people rushing by through the ears of Oskar was too loud, irritating and fearful. The element of close I can interpret in many ways, nevertheless the most likely way should be related to the relationship with his father, and the bond they always, and still have. Close were also many faces in this movie, showing - again the perception of the boy, who is then kind of fading out other details of the busy world and only focusing on the person he talks to. That could also be the reason for most of the people becoming emotional, and often crying in his presence as he is showing his full attention to them. Oskar also got close to his mother eventually, and to his father (the hidden message in the swing board) and to his grandfather ("the renter"). Close could also be attached to the fact that the solution of the puzzle was already close all the time.
In a nutshell, the movie is a touching, rather heavy and rather exciting movie and very worth watching. I found it extremely interesting to swap perspective and watch the world through the eyes of Oskar, who is experiencing everything rather intensely and unfiltered. I loved the way they arranged the music, and - to come back on it - the equality element. Everyone, as strange they might seem gets a chance: In a world were comparability is extremely high thanks to social online networks and standardization of processes. The connectedness is as high as never before and people rather spend time on their mobile devices than talking to each other. The movie shows that individuality is important (otherwise Abbey would still miss her husband, and her husband would never knew what his father left him or the old man unable to talk finding back his family and helped Oskar to overcome his fears). It shows everyone is valuable and worthy and has his part in society and makes his contribution - as good as they can, without judgement.
So, if you did not by now, go and watch "extremely loud and incredibly close" you will be able to enjoy a very different movie, or maybe read the book, it should be even closer!