Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Some books just don’t make good movies, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a prime example. Â I read the book and loved it. The book was too dense and complex to make a satisfying movie adaptation. Â A prime example is the appearance of The Renter (Max von Syndow). Â He is a confusing character in the film but plays a large and richly detailed role in the novel.
David Denby writing in The New Yorker puts his finger on another problem:
The boyâ€™s voice, as (author Jonathan Safran) Foer creates it, is a babbling brook of hopes and questions and bits of information on every imaginable subject. In the novel, we can enjoy all of this heroic spieling and exploring as a form of antic play. It never occurs to us that an actual little boy, however bright, however maddened by grief, could talk this way. Oskarâ€™s voice is a writerâ€™s virtuoso construction, and Foer combines it with the voice of Oskarâ€™s grandfather, photographs of falling bodies, odd dialogues, lists of numbers, garbled paragraphs, nearly blank pages, and many other typographical adventures. The novel is a kind of postmodernist collage stained with tear… Much of what Oskar says in the book is amusingly beside the point. Onscreen, however, the sound of a hyper-articulate boy talking semi-nonsense becomes very hard to take.
I agree. Â The “voices” in the book did not translate well into film, which is way too literal to capture the author’s delicacy, humor, and fantastical imagination.