Here's a trailer for the upcoming holiday weepy Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a movie about 9/11 based on the same-titled literary gewgaw by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's about a magical little boy doing magical things.
Well, not real magic, but the sort of innocent-but-wise-beyond-his-years weird kid stuff that is treated as magical by male writers and filmmakers who are basically Mary Sueing themselves into their own story. Here, the mystical, saintly young man, Oskar, is the grieving and confused son of a man who died in the World Trade Center on that Bright Blue Tuesday and who goes on an adventure of the spirit and soul to discover the origin of a mysterious key he finds in his father's closet. His grampa, here played by Max Von Sydow, tags along and works through his own shit that has to do with a lost love and the bombing of Dresden (parallels! supposedly). Safran Foer does lots of swirling pirouettes of language and description all of which eventually add up to... a rather pat and vaguely exploitative story about the prettiness of grief, essentially.
And this movie looks to take that notion even further, into the deeply unsettling plane of an August Rush-type sapathon. The director Stephen Daldry is a good filmmaker — he honed a nice hard edge on what could have been a total cheesefest with Billy Elliot, and wrangled Michael Cunningham's sprawling stream of consciousness novel The Hours into a respectable prestige movie — but there was an undercurrent of gooeyness in his most recent film, The Reader, and I fear here, in this brief clip reel at least, that that undercurrent has now burbled up to the surface. I mean, who cut this trailer? You're really gonna play "Where the Streets Have No Name"? You're really gonna focus on Tom Hanks saying "You rock" to his wide-eyed son? Yikes.
And speaking of the son, isn't it kind of weird that they cut Leelee Sobieski's hair and cast her as a nine-year-old boy? Aw, that's mean. What I'm saying is that Thomas Horn, discovered when he won Teen Jeopardy! at the age of 13, is a bit diction-heavy and willowy of limb to be playing what's supposed to be a dumpy/scrappy nine-year-old. Here he looks and sounds like the fey young lord of some Danish castle, not a peculiar and shy New York mouse. The rest of the cast is good, though Hanks and Sandra Bullock as Oskar's parents are both too old for their roles. But that's OK, they're big stars and will put butts in seats, and that's the whole point.
So, yeah, there it is! Who knows, maybe this is just a terribly done trailer meant to lure in the big tissue-wielding mass appeal crowds that can push a Christmastime movie into the black, but if the movie is in fact this string-tugging, it's managed to be even more hokey and gummy than the novel. Which is saying something.