A nine-year-old searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. [imdb]
Nominated for 2 Oscars:
Best Supporting Actor: Max von Sydow
I think this is the first year that the more-than-5 nominees for Best Picture worked fine with me. I didn't really like The Artist, Hugo, Descendants & Midnight in Paris, so with only 5 nominees it would've made for the worst line-up in history for me. But with 9 I got Tree of Life (masterpiece), Moneyball, War Horse & our Extremely Loud - all of which make my top 4 of the 9. Without these, I'd be lost.
But this doesn't mean I think Extremely Loud is a great film... It's not a masterpiece, but I liked it and it had more emotion in a scene than Artist, Descendants & Hugo put together. Of course, everything about 9/11 is heartbreaking. The scene with Sandra in the office looking out the window breaks your heart; the scene with Oskar's big reveal is also incredibly emotional & touching... For all this, I appreciate the film a lot.
But it does have its problems: I think it's a bit too long and it doesn't always balance well - some parts are less interesting than others. So the fault is mostly in the screenplay, which doesn't mean it's bad writing. The performances are all fine with me, Thomas Horn gives a real breakthrough performance and I believe Sandra was one Oscar scene away from a potential nomination - she is really playing against type.
Max von Sydow's nomination is what makes Oscar seasons more exciting - I didn't see it coming and we had almost no warning sign for it. But the performance is there, which makes it a worthy nomination.
My rating for the film: 7.5/10. The direction is fine and the original score beautiful. In the end all I can say is that it's a really underrated film & I have no idea what the critics are bitching about.