Cath's Review of The Impossible
The Boxing Day Tsunami in SE Asia was a hugely shocking and devastating natural disaster, with over 200,000 dead and immense destruction. I am sure most of us can remember the shocking news images. In some ways it is surprising it has taken 8 years for a film to be set during that disaster.
Based on the real story of a Spanish family, the Hollywood bucks have transformed them into middle class white Brits - Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor and their three sons. Of course the vast majority of the dead were local Asians, and there has been some criticism of this film for focussing largely on the Western tourists.
Where the film really takes off is, of course, when the waters hit. A terrifying plunge into fast flowing water, flying debris brilliantly brought to life, and no 3D required to make you feel as if you are in that torrent, trying to survive with Naomi and her son, impressively played by newcomer Tom Holland.
We then follow the family through the nightmare and chaos of not knowing if the others are alive, and the many other people the family meet, also searching for lost loved ones. The film captures what must have been a hugely chaotic situation for the thousands affected.
That the film has a happy ending isn't a huge surprise given the pre-publicity and the real life family's involvement in promoting it, which is a shame in some ways as the peril and suspense is slightly lessened because of this. However, excellent acting from all the leads, especially Naomi Watts, an actress who can say so much with her eyes, really gives this film it's impact. Yes, we're focussing on the lucky ones who amazingly all survive, but in its final minutes, there are no big happy smiles of relief. McGregor finds the note with the names of missing family members of a man he met, Watts looks out at the scene of devastation as their plane takes off, weeping at the sight.
Thrilling, but heart warming, superbly acted and engrossing.