The Impossible (2012)
Dir: Juan Antonio Bayona
Tsunamis are terrible… This film shows that in a way I’ve never seen in movies before.
This film is based on the real life story of a Spanish family who were in Thailand when the 2004 Tsunami struck, and depicts their separation and struggle to survive the terrible event and horrific conditions in the aftermath of that disaster.
I was amazed by the detailed depiction of both the actual tsunami event, and the widespread destruction caused by it. The level of detail that was put into those scenes is truly extraordinary, and it all looked so realistic, which is probably why this film has proven so hard-hitting, with many reports of people crying in screenings. I didn’t cry myself, but I was considerably moved.
Very interestingly, the director took care not to specify the nationalities of the family in the script, with the aim of making any nationality irrelevant. The story is closely based upon the experiences of a spanish family, and the actors are all using British accents in the English language version that I saw, though I imagine that when dubbed throughout the world it could very easily be that they are from almost anywhere and thus really helping to make the story through its themes universal.
It’s a really excellent piece of film-making, the cast are all superb, even the children who really add extra emotion to the situation. Naomi Watts was especially praised for her portrayal of the mother Maria, and she is very good indeed, not airbrushed or kept looking lovely in the face of disaster as sometimes happens, but rather shown battered and bruised to the extreme.
It’s not an easy watch, but adds something extra to the understanding of those terrible events that might not have been fully understood just from the news coverage.