The Impossible

In the aftermath of the devastating 2004 Tsunami a mother and father desperately try to bring their family back together.

Genre:DramaThriller

Director(s): Juan Antonio Bayona

Writers: Sergio G. Sánchez, María Belón

Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland

The tsunami scenes are awe inspiring.
Would have been good to see some more focus on the local population and their experiences of the tragedy.

The Impossible film Review

J. A. Bayona’s follow up to his 2007 breakthrough hit The Orphanage is, it’s fair to say, not what people were expecting to see from the director. Thankfully The Impossible shows that Bayona’s talents extend further than the horror genre.

Set during the 2004 tsunami that devastated Thailand, the film focuses on a British family who are caught up in the disaster whilst on holiday. Films depicting real life tragedies tread a thin line between exploitation of the event and a genuine desire to represent the facts and raise awareness. It’s testament to the film’s quality that The Impossible gets the balance just about right.

With the recent dependance on CG effects it is to the film’s credit that Bayona has opted for practical effects where ever possible. As a result the scenes of the tsunami hitting the coast look fantastic, terrifying and awe inspiring in equal measure. It should act as a lesson to other film makers that scenes of this scale can be shot without CG and look a damn sight better for it.

The underwater scenes also stand out and are genuinely difficult to watch – you can almost feel skin tear and wood snap. These scenes could have been plucked from a horror film and this really adds to the impact that the film achieves.

All the cast are fantastic. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are utterly convincing as a grieving mother and father desperate to bring their family back together. Credit to the young cast as well, good child actors can still prove hard to find but with the children in this film their performances are on par with the better known senior cast.

If there is a criticism to be leveled at the film, it’s that the focus is perhaps a little askew. The film seems more concerned with the effect the tsunami had on one wealthy western family. It would have been a more well rounded portrayal of events if some thought had been given to highlighting the plight of the native people who had their entire lives and homes destroyed by the disaster.

** Spoiler Warning**

The ending may prove difficult to swallow for some, although it’s based on a true story so there isn’t much room for manoeuvre. It would have delivered a more satisfying pay off if the family had perhaps stayed to help the other survivors rather than flying out on a chartered private jet to safety.

Overall, despite a couple of flaws, The Impossible is a fantastic film that has real heart. It packs a tremendous emotional punch and is visually stunning throughout. It also marks Bayona as a man to watch –  with The Orphanage and now this under his belt, expect great things.

Acting
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Comment
There's 2 Comments. Add yours
  1. Shawky

    But this story isn't about the locals, this is about the Belon family, their ordeal. It's a Spanish family so what – they were still involved in the event. Bayona has chosen to tell this story, however he made the decision to not reveal the nationality of the family, to make it a universal film in which nationalities were irrelevant to the plot. And I can understand why he made it English speaking, because if he hadn't it would have lost the majority of the Audience, because it's so hard to read subs isn't it! Plus we would have then got the American remake with over production of the Disaster and silly sub plots to make it more exciting!!!!

    The family stayed behind – really, Maria was on the verge of dying, and you want them to help the locals….. If I was on the verge of losing my family once, I'm sorry I wouldn't have been staying behind either!

    I agree with everything else.

      
  2. Naomi

    I didn't necessarily think they should stay behind to help the locals but the fact that they just flew away in a pristine plane while others were left to pick up the pieces felt a bit harrowing… I think it was the difference in circumstances, the fact they had the option to fly away from the terror, that hit me more than the fact that they didn't stay to help.