DRAMA; 2hr 9min
STARRING: Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn
On a mission: Horn
One year after 9/11, Oskar Schell (Horn) finds a key in the closet of his late father, Thomas (Hanks), who died in the Twin Towers. The key is in an envelope with the name “Black” printed on it, and 11-year-old Oskar is convinced this is a message for him to decipher. Since there are no other clues, his game plan is to contact the hundreds of Blacks in New York to determine whether any of them has a lock that fits the key, thereby keeping alive the bond with the father he reveres.
It’s nutso, yet so is what has happened to Oskar and his stricken mother, Linda (Bullock). And it’s especially courageous since oversensitive and uncommonly intelligent Oskar is easily spooked. Still, off he goes, armed and driven by heartache. He’s far from an easy child, but Horn gets him with uncanny understanding.
In its rock-bottom familiarity with the pervasive wreckage of bereavement, The Reader director Stephen Daldry’s exploration of Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel isn’t a breezy ride. And nor should it be. The spiky little boy speaks for a multitude of others: the legacy that torments him is their anguish, too.