18 April 2014

The Impossible

The Impossible 2012
  • Director: J.A. Bayona
  • Based on the story by Maria Belón
  • Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast. Geraldine Chaplin
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Naomi Watts  King Kong, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, 21 Grams, Ned Kelly
    • Ewan McGregor – The Ghost Writer, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Island, Star Wars Episodes I-III, Moulin Rouge, Young Adam, Little Voice, Velvet Goldmine, A Life Less Ordinary, Brassed Off, Train Spotting, Shallow Grave, Big Fish
    • Geraldine Chaplin – Remember My Name, Nashville, Dr. Zhivago
  • Why? Recommended by friend MS; Ewan McGregor
  • Seen:  April 13, 2014
Ten years it’s been. Several people from the little suburb where I live died or went missing. One of them was a former student. Two of them owned and ran the pub just down the hill.  So many thousands died from so many countries that it was unfathomable.
The film focuses on one British family of five, while touching enough on individuals from many other countries to show the vastness of the disaster. The film’s weakness is that there is almost nothing to show that the Thais themselves far outnumbered the tourists among the victims.
Otherwise it’s based on a true story, though the family was Spanish, but I suppose British actors invited a wider audience.  And very fine actors they are. EMcG and NW as the parents are excellent. Tom Holland as the oldest boy is phenomenal, reminiscent of a young Jamie Bell. The other two boys are very good too.
From the moment the tidal wave crashes into the resort, ripping the family apart, to their final reunion – impossible but it happened – the suspense and drama are acute, almost painful. For me one of the most poignant scenes is when Lucas runs through the vast refugee hospital calling out the names of people he’s trying to help reunite. The first family he helps is Swedish and when he calls, “Mårten Bernström?” and a young boy says hoarsely, “Ja?” – that’s when my first tears come.
No film can convey the scale of the tsunami but this one comes close.  I don’t imagine victims would be able to endure watching it.
4 * of 5