Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Impossible (2013)

Drama, Thriller, Action
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast.
Juan Antonia Bayona
Writer: Sergio G Sanchez, Maria Belon
Bayona’s The Impossible had every chance to become a samey, deliberately tear-jerky, over-dramatic disaster movie and that’s of course what I was expecting. Unlike most other movies I see and review, for The Impossible, I remained spoiler and trailer-free. I had no idea what I was about to watch and knew nothing other than that they’d decided to use one of the most tragic disasters of all time as a way to make big bucks. Sigh.
Yet, from the word go, The Impossible did the impossible and completely won over everyone in the cinema. The film centres truthfully around the traumatic happenings of Boxing Day 2004, when a Tsunami hit Thailand, killing over 200,000 people and leaving millions homeless. The Impossible explores the true story of Spanish Belon family (changed to the British Bennett’s for the film) - Maria Bennett (Naomi Watts), Henri Bennett (Ewan McGregor) and their three young sons, on their unexpected and miraculous journey to survival.
Because of its truth and alarming emotionality, The Impossible is a far cry from your typical disaster movie. Everything about this film feels real, from the sometimes unwatchable trauma to the raw human spirit and hope that drives this family to never give up.
Director Bayona and writer Sanchez team together to create a film that is everything more than extraordinary. The opening scenes - although quite stiff - tell us of what should be a blissful Christmas break, yet there is a manipulative tension as the audience wait for what they know is about to hit.
As the waves crash over the resort, we are put in the position of the desperate family and allowed to feel exactly the way they feel. Bayona’s choice to view the tsunami from the view of the victim rather than from an aerial money-shot is the precise reason why The Impossible succeeds. It is not about making an incredible film  - although it is  tremendous – but it is about telling a story, and this story, is one that sticks with you. I couldn’t stop thinking about this film for hours afterwards, and I still catch myself thinking about it now.
The incredible performances from Watts, McGregor and rising star Tom Holland (Lucas Belon/Bennett) are shockingly relatable and this is what makes The Impossible so striking. There won’t be a dry eye in the house – and that’s coming from someone who never cries at films.
Beautifully tragic, inspiring and swimming with emotion, The Impossible has rightfully gained itself the title of best disaster movie of all time.