This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
FilmApe’s review published on Letterboxd :
This review may contain spoilers.
This film runs two hours and nine minutes. At about the hour and fifty minute mark I started to assume that sometime earlier today I had died and was now in Hell. What other explanation could there be for having to endure a tortuous experience such as this movie. My man Robert-Francois Damiens who had the "flesh torn from his breast,arms,thighs and calves with hot pinchers [then had] molten lead, boiling oil, burning resin, wax, and sulphur" poured on the wounds, and then was "draw and quartered by four horses" would have still chosen death had watching this movie been an alternate form of punishment.
I spent the majority of this film trying to figure out the purpose of it. I still haven't found one. There is no discernible lesson to take away, it isn't well acted or directed, and the script is absolutely terrible. Worse yet, the film shoehorning in 9/11 and the Holocaust isn't borderline offensive, it is downright offensive. Then we got the delightful protagonist, who claims that the tests he took to determine if he has Asperger's were inconclusive. Right, inconclusive, whatever you say kid.
Anyway, this kid runs around New York talking to people and spouting out a bunch science and math that I'm too dumb to understand. Then he meets a guy with tattoos on his hand, then he meets a guy who was in a James Bond movie via the mom from Doubt, and finally the kid gets sad. Then we find out that his journey was all laid out for him, and then everything is peachy, the end.
Now of course this is an oversimplification of the plot, but I don't feel like dwelling on it anymore than I have to. What I do want to dwell on though, is the stupid answering machine. First off, if the world was governed by Lord of the Flies rules, I would shove this answering machines dick in the conch. The entire movie is based on said answering machine, and then it is just dropped in the end (not literally). Maybe I missed something, but Sandra Bullock never finds out about the answering machine switch (the worst) right? She never listens to it, or is told about it, or anything. This answering machine has the importance of the holy grail in the film, yet nothing is done about it in the end. Terrible, terrible screenwriting here (and possibly book writing to).
In the end, I think I would have had a more enjoyable experience if director Stephen Daldry had walked into my living room, stuck a shotgun in my mouth, and pulled the trigger. Judging by the Daldry films that I have seen though, he probably would screw something up, and I would be left alive with the memory of having watched this cinematic monstrosity.