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Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close sincere but contrived 

Adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel boasts strong performances, but could be better

Thomas Horn is compelling as the precocious Oskar Shell, the nine-year-old hero of Jonathan Safran Foer’s story of a boy trying to make sense of his father’s death by trying to find the lock to fit a key his father left behind. As a portrait of post-September 11 New York, this is a sincere effort, with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock both solid as the parents of the focused, anxious child, and Max von Sydow especially good as a man who helps Oskar with his quest. But Oskar's ceaseless voice-over goes from pedantic to irritating, and director Stephen Daldry (The Hours), never one to resist a narrative hammer when a feather would do, overplays both the imagery and thematic urgency.

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Vol 24, No 28
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