A Tom Hanks film that I nearly missed; I say a Tom Hanks film but as we know from the trailers, he is dead in the movie and so appears infrequently. In fact, annoyingly, the main character that’s in every scene is young Thomas Horn who plays Oscar, the bereaved son of the Hank’s character who perishes in the World Trade Centre on September 11th.
This is the first ‘footage’ I have seen of those events; I couldn’t even bring myself to watch on the day or since, nor have I been to the site since. However, the film isn’t about 9/11 but about a young boy coping after the early and cruel death of his beloved father. I though given that he is on his own they’d be a lot of support from his mother, played by the excellent Sandra Bullock but sadly she has even less of a role than Hanks.
Instead the film focuses on Oscar’s hunt to find out where a key he found by accident in his perfect father’s closet may lead. This would be a great story if this was a fantasy adventure but it’s set in early present day New York so a non-story to start. Whether Oscar’s self-harming and (extremely) annoying (loud) nature is due to the passing away is not clear, nor is why a mother would let her child out alone all over the city on subways, busses and walking whilst he looked to interrogate everyone with the surname ‘Black’ the name found on the keys’ envelope.
The emotional wrench that I felt from the trailers is delivered through a key point made throughout the film of Oscar hearing his Dad’s phone messages as the situation deteriorated in WTC. The most poignant though is of his mother having her last telephone conversation with him as she looks out in absolute horror at the building crumpling in front of her across the city skyline.
I know this is based on a book (which everyone suddenly seems to be reading without knowing the film had been released) but what I expected more of is a relationship (however) tense portrayed between the son and the widower. Instead the highlight is Oscar befriending his Grandma’s ‘lodger’ from across the street. That and the fact that a lot of the action is based around the Upper West where I used to live.
Smile factor 5/10