Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Review: 'The Impossible'

The Impossible (2013)
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona
Starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland

'Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.'

First things first, I'm not the type of person who loves the genre of film that sets out to have you weeping and claims to 'tug at the heartstrings'...but I have to say, The Impossible won me over.

The Impossible tells the story of the tragic Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 from one family's point of view. The film starts as you might expect; happy family with sullen teenager go on holiday to the beautiful Thailand for an idyllic family Christmas to the backdrop of stunning beaches and sunsets, all of which can only fill the viewer with dread at knowing the horror that await them.

Odd as it is to say it, the triumph of the film is the tsunami itself. The spine chills as soon as it hits, destroying everything in its path. The camera is swirled to and fro, sound rushes past you from every angle; every blow to the characters, you wince as if experiencing it yourself. 

'Close your eyes and think of something nice...'

The real star of the film, in my eyes, is Tom Holland as eldest son Lucas. Having already featured in Billie Elliot the Musical, he gives an astonishing performance as a boy frightened for his own life who shows incredible strength to save his mother and sacrifices his own needs for those of others. Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are also amazing as parents Maria and Henry. Both are full of raw emotion and heartbreak that leave you reeling for the whole film.

There have been questions asked about The Impossible in that the original family which the characters are based on are actually Spanish, and some see the use of an all-blonde, all-Caucasian main cast as unnecessary and inappropriate. I believe that changing the ethnicity of the family does not add anything, but that we cannot deny the extraordinary performances brought to the film by those who were cast: maybe, quite simply, they were the best people for the job.

I must admit, despite hearing plenty of good things about it, The Impossible was not my first choice of film. However, I left the cinema completely awestruck, horrified and emotionally drained. It is a heart-wrenching journey full of incredibly moving moments that will linger with you long after the credits end.

Rating: 4/5
Even if you don't think this is your type of thing, this film deserves to be watched!

Thanks for reading,


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