A genuinely-remarkable performance from youngster Thomas Horn and the most intriguing of tales save Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close from the treacle which threatens to engulf it at the end.
Horn is nine-year-old Oskar Schell who believes that his dad Thomas (Tom Hanks) – who perished in 9/11 – bequeathed him a post-mortem mystery.
Oskar, a strange, lonely and obsessive child, chances on an envelope among his late father’s possessions. In the envelope is a key; on the envelope is the name Black.
Without pausing to wonder quite what he is looking for or why, Oskar puts two and two together and makes them add up to an incredible journey through all the Blacks (and their locks) living in New York – a journey which teams him up with a mute old man apparently lodging with his grandmother.
Where is the mother in all this? It’s the question which lingers on first viewing. Is mum (Sandra Bullock) really just sitting at home sobbing while her little boy sidles up to complete strangers the length and breadth of New York’s boroughs?
Oskar’s mission becomes an epic fairy-tale quest, and while Oskar himself has a fairly alienating personality, his monumental undertaking certainly drags the viewer in.
The resolution works nicely – but a little of the sentiment, restrained for the best part of two hours, tumbles out towards the end. Otherwise, this is a fine film, beautifully played for maximum interest.
Rental courtesy of Blockbuster. For details of other new releases, see http://www.blockbuster.co.uk/