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The Impossible

The Impossible

What She said:


It’s hard to imagine that the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands in Indonesia, Thailand, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, and India occurred over 8 years ago.  It seems like just yesterday the horrific images of the destruction, chaos, and death of the event were all over the television.  As these areas still struggle to recover from the tsunami, amazing stories from the ordeal have come to light.  The Impossible is based on one of these stories, about a family that goes to Thailand on Christmas vacation, only to be torn apart by the tsunami.  In the hours and days following, the separated family fights suffering and pure hysteria to try to find one another, never really sure if the other half is still alive, but also not giving up hope.  It’s a film about the power of perseverance, but also a pretty graphic look into the horror that overtook these areas in the aftermath of the tsunami.

Ewan McGregor plays Henry, the patriarch of the family, while Naomi Watts plays his wife, Maria.  They have three little boys, the youngest of which looks to be about five years old.  Their eldest son, Lucas, is really put to the test as he is forced into the role of caretaker to his ailing mother.  The movie presents a very powerful and seemingly accurate representation of what it was like to be directly impacted by the 2004 tsunami.  As the family is ripped apart (both figuratively and literally), the scenes become quite intense.  I warn you, there are some graphic looks at injuries.  I remember one shot in particular involving Maria that is quite gruesome.  Her character is gravely injured by the disaster and the filmmakers hold little back in representing this. 

The movie is emotionally charged, but also doesn’t delve too deep.  It has a lot to achieve in its 113 minute runtime, and so there are some details that are left superficial.  However, I think that the movie succeeds well, both as a story of survival and also as a representation of a major historic event.  Visually, the film is wonderful.  I never for one moment felt like I was watching bad disaster movie CGI.  And that was not a coincidence.  Apparently, the Spanish moviemakers felt that the film should feel 100 percent authentic, and so they created huge models to film scenes that would typically nowadays ben done with a green screen.  I think cinematically this was quite an accomplishment.

There are a few moments when the story seems to lose some momentum, but the fantastic acting makes up for it.  Granted, the two youngest boys were a little cheesy at times (that can happen with young actors), but everyone else really captured their roles.  The Impossible is hard to peg—it is a disaster movie, an action flick, a horror film, and a moving drama.  But it comes together into something that’s watchable and memorable.

Thumbs up.

The Impossible


What he said:

The Impossible

This picture to the left kind of says it all doesn’t it?  I mean, what the hell? What are you supposed to do if you’re standing there and see that rushing towards you? You don’t do anything. There’s no time to form a coherent thought let alone do anything. You probably don’t even have enough time to shit your pants, because you know you would if you actually had time to.  

The Impossible tells the story of Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry Bennett (Ewan McGregor) and their sons Lucas, Thomas, and Simon while on Christmas vacation in Thailand. If the words Christmas and Thailand sound vaguely familiar, that’s because there was a giant tsunami there in 2004. Remember? The day after Christmas a massive tsunami from the Indian Ocean completely wiped out parts of Asia. It was devastating and the movie actually does a very good job at creating a realistic interpretation of that day. I’m not saying my feelings can compare to what those who went through it, but the movie offers a pretty graphic and detailed representation of the disaster .

So, it’s the day after Christmas and the family is hanging out by the pool at their  resort. They had a wonderful Christmas Day and that looks to continue…until a giant tsunami unexpectedly hits and separates that family. Maria and Lucas (Tom Holland) are separated from Henry, Thomas (Samuel Joslin), and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast). Thus begins their adventure to find safety and more importantly each other.

Maria is hurt badly. Everyone is banged up, but she’s easily in the worst shape of all of them. She has to rely heavily on Lucas for help. He’s the oldest of the children, but still just a kid, and forced to grow up very fast.  He’s forced to be the leader in this situation. Henry on the other hand is the one in charge of his group. He’s not as banged up Maria and thus takes the lead like you would expect a parent to in this situation. Ironically though, even though he’s in good enough shape to care for his children, his priorities lie with the missing family members.

The Impossible

Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are good actors and they are also good in this movie. Watts portrays the beaten up, but determined Maria quite well. I actually believed the actress herself was in real agony several times. McGregor was equally as good as the concerned –and equally determined – father who simply wants to find the missing members of his family. But what really surprised me was how good these young actors were. All three of them were superb. Children aren’t always the best actors – and that’s ok because they are new to the craft – but these kids were legit. The emotion they portrayed was well beyond their years.

I thought this was an excellent movie. It was graphic, but not unnecessarily so. It’s portraying a natural disaster and a really bad one at that, and did a great job in doing so. There are several times where I winced, cringed, or just blurted out, “Oh man” at the beating the characters were taking. The effects and acting were top-notch too. This movie should have gotten more attention from the Awards Shows.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on May 2, 2013.