Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Written By: Sergio G. Sánchez, María Belón
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 44 min
Based on the 2004 tsunami that hit Thailand amongst other places. It was the biggest earthquake in 40 years and thousands lost their lives. Many home-made videos captured the mass destruction and again more recently with the Japanese atrocity. We have become sadly used to and fascinated by nature’s power of devastation. If you look at coastal estimates of flooding by the year 2050 due to climate change as well, you can see sea-side resorts becoming dangerous places to be.
This film is superb at capturing the awesome massive power and devastation of a tsunami, and shows the true real-time fear and panic that you would feel if unfortunate enough to be caught in its path. The effects are perfect and the actors must have had an awful time being in the situations the film (and life) presents. The physical damage the debris does is unflinchingly real and visceral and the wounds are terrible. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are in fine form here as the suffering couple who get separated, and have to try to find their three sons in all the mayhem. The boy actors are all terrific too and everyone really does get put through the ringer! The fact that it’s a true story helps ground this amazing survival tale.
The title only becomes evident at the end and it’s hard not to give anything away so all I will say is – your heart-strings will get brutally tugged, this film teases and sadistically manipulates you into squeezing tears from you due to the terror, horror and distress of everyone involved. The film makers play with your emotions and drag tension and emotion from every scene and make you feel the experience has almost happened to you in all its grim and blood splattered details. It’s very intense and effective – be warned!
If you fancy a very effective film about the effects of a tsunami – look no further. We get to see the struggles of a real life family here in this brutally realistic film that tugs on the heart-strings as heavily as the water does to the island resort itself.
A large HD screen to marvel at the destructive power of this killer wave.
Best scene for me:
The best is actually the worst – the tsunami hitting the unsuspecting family while they play in the swimming pool is stunning and shocking. It’s incredibly well done with a perfect blend of special effects, practical effects, camera positioning and surround sound – you are in the wave of mutilation.
Stewart’s two cents:
The events of the devastating tsunami that hit Thailand in 2004 are incredibly realized in J. A. Bayona’s The Impossible. The aftermath, and the amazing true life story are also filmed in incredible detail. This is a heart-wrenching story, but very worthy of your time.