Film review: 'The Impossible is a strikingly beautiful film

Saturday, 5 January 2013 - 2:27pm IST Updated: Saturday, 5 January 2013 - 3:16pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Though it may be a little too emotionally involving, the film is more than your average disaster movie if you can call it that. And the performances and visuals are well above top-notch.

Film: The Impossible
Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Rating: ***1/2

The Impossible is inspired from the traumatic true events that occurred to a Spanish family vacationing in Thailand during one of history’s deadliest natural calamities, the 2004 Tsunami, which laid waste to 200,000 lives.

Maria (Watts), Henry (McGregor) and their three young boys Lucas (Holland), Thomas and Simon are vacationing in Thailand. The serene South Pacific getaway turns into a scene from Dante’s Inferno when a CGI-rendered wave sunders the unsuspecting family and casts hurdles on their efforts to reunite.

The film is not so much about devastation and a family being torn apart as it is about doing the right thing in a moment of immense personal crisis. Realising that you have lost everything and are all alone in the world, as Henry explains, is probably one of the scariest thing in the world. The film masterfully builds on this but, unfortunately, only up to a point. There is some amount of criticism that the focus on a white family’s travails, while the sufferings of hundreds of other peoples is overlooked. Such comments are unwarranted, since the story isafterall that of the family, whose nationality was not made clear in a bid to make a universal film.

Though the plight of the family is undeniably stretched-out, there is a brilliant interlude with Geraldine Chaplin in a very impactful bit role. Performance-wise, Watts is superlative as the nurturing mother as is Holland as the snot-nosed self-assured brat who is thrust in to a scenario which is equally horrifying for any adult. McGregor surprises by showing rare emotional depth.

For a film that deals with the devastating force of nature, The Impossible is a strikingly beautiful film. The Machinist’s Óscar Faura, working with Bayona once again after The Orphanage, works wonders with light and shadows. 

Though it may be a little too emotionally involving, The Impossible is more than your average disaster movie if you can call it that. And the performances and visuals are well above top-notch.


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