We’ve seen it all before haven’t we? A high flying business man taking his family somewhere exotic for a Christmas holiday but is unable to tear himself away from his Blackberry so mother nature slaps him round the face with a lovely bit of deadly natural disaster etc etc etc. Well I thought I had until I watched Juan Antonio Bayona‘s ‘The Impossible‘.
Based on a true story, we are thrust into the epicenter of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, which hit Thailand in 2004. It wasn’t long until I was holding my breath, hoping the children were able to get to the water surface in time. Not only do we see the devastation that the Tsunami caused from up in the air, we are plunged,through the medium of the family’s video camera, into the dirty sea water with the rest of the 5* resort. This ‘handycam’ made it even harder to see this as just another natural disaster film.
The older child, a grumpy young man called Lucas (Tom Holland), quickly becomes our hero, rescuing not only his mother but also a young boy called Daniel, who had been separated from his family. During this rescue attempt, the relationship between mother and son is explored and the raw emotion of the situation is revealed. From Lucas’s anger to his refusal to see his mother’s naked body, even in the middle of a Tsunami, we are invited to feel a mixture of emotions with our young hero which will later be magnified as they leave the resort in a hope of finding help and the rest of their family.
The close up of exposed bones, the shrieks coming from hospital beds and the desperation of everyone involved makes it impossible to remain unattached from this film and the family who experienced this less than a decade ago. Maybe it’s because it’s based on a true story, maybe its because I have siblings, who knows. But I guarantee everyone will relate to at least one aspect of this epic film on an emotional level. If you can make it towards the end without ‘having something in your eye’, then I would check your pulse.
Within a matter of days, Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor), Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) go through more impossible (you can definitely see how it got it’s name) situations and have to make more impossible decisions that many would make in an entire lifetime.
I highly recommend this film and will definitely be watching it again. Maybe not before my trip to Thailand next year though. Don’t want to tempt fate or anything.