Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Impossible ★★★½


Australia: 24th January 2013; USA 4th January UK 1st January 2013
Other Countries: Release Dates

Hug your loved ones. That’s what you think whilst watching THE IMPOSSIBLE. The intimacy of film allows us to enter a true-life experience we normally can only watch on the news; though it isn’t hard to imagine the terror of those poor souls who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.  It left staggering figures in its wake, 1.69 million displaced and 230,000 estimated dead.
So with great trepidation we came to view THE IMPOSSIBLE. You watch knowing what is to come, as we've seen it replayed countless times on our televisions. We’ve even seen Oprah interview survivors. This news story as implausible as you will think it is, as it unfolds in THE IMPOSSIBLE, is very true. Even the filmmakers don’t think you will believe it, so they repeat, ‘This is a true story’ twice at the beginning.
It is the story of an English family’s experience (the real family was Spanish) in the 2004 Tsunami whilst holidaying in Phuket. The family of five, Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and children, Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon Oaklee Pendergast), are staying at a luxury resort and relaxing by the pool when the Tsunami hits.
Lucas and his Mother surface and, within half an hour, find each other amidst the turbulent flow of the surge but they have been separated from Henry and the other children. They believe them dead. Maria has been badly injured and the story follows her and Lucas as they make their way through the disaster's aftermath and end up at a local hospital. The film switches to Henry’s relentless search for his wife and son. Along the way, we experience close up the devastation of the tragedy (although much has been made of the fact that the film is peculiarly absent of Thai victims).
Whilst the movie has a few plotting issues and occasionally becomes a little too preoccupied with assuring us how deserving this family was of salvation, it is still a film that does a good job of reminding us of the randomness of tragedy and good fortune; and, of course, how often you must hug your loved ones.