Tonight I watched “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” for the second time and this time I decided to watch it with an open mind and a journal at my hands; noting down all the little details that made the experience complete.
The movie’s basically about a 9 year old, Oskar Schell, an “amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist” who embarked on a unique journey in New York City in hopes to find the lock that matches a key he found in a vase left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001.
Personally, even without a purpose, I found his journey remarkably idiosyncratic…in a very good way. On the envelope of the key was printed the name “Black” and to begin his search he mapped the homes of all the Blacks in NYC and calculated just how long it would take him to visit them all. Throughout the journey he runs into people who have all lost someone or something. People that are just as damaged as he is, if not more. And I think that, alone, is a healing process. What I especially love is how he takes a souvenir and a picture of every person he meets, even the ones that refused to speak to him and screamed at him to leave. He documented everything and something about that is so riveting, perhaps because of my underlying fear of the oblivion of memories that I hadn’t acknowledged prior to typing up that sentence.
Before I sink into my emotions, I’ll go back to the film and save that little chat for later. As I mentioned earlier, Oskar refers to himself as a pacifist which I find largely foreshadowing the now expected reaction he would have towards the twin towers’ collapse. Other than the instinctual grief of losing a father that you were unbelievably close to, a huge build up of anger and frustration caused by confusion. His drive comes from his craving for logical reasoning. He was going to go out and find what the key fits to help him make sense of things that don’t even make sense like his father “being killed in the building by people that didn’t even know him at all”
Another thing I absolutely love about the movie is how a 9 year old is depicted so differently in comparison to most movies about young children his age. Perhaps it’s there to emphasize his own intellectual level as being superior to his peers, but some viewers and critics theorize that Oskar’s perhaps autistic or has ADD. But because I find whatever his medical status is irrelevant, I wont talk about that. In the end Jonathan Safran Fœr created a 9 year old that was distinct and novel and I believe that that – to me – made the film important to me on a personal level.
Also, Oskar’s scrapbook continues to motivate me to document everything because something about looking through time periods and people you’ve explored is so compelling to me.
I loved it.