Friday, January 18, 2013

The Impossible (2012)

Year: 2012
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Cast: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast

Before I begin my review….
This movie was not an easy watch, and I knew it wouldn’t be. However, I promised myself I would see as many of the Academy Award nominees before the 24th of February as I can, if not all. I can’t let all of you down! I must do this!

As soon as The Impossible finished, the one thing I really wanted to do was hug my husband and son. The movie struck a personal chord with me being a family woman like Naomi Watts’ character, Maria. It could drive me to insanity being put in a situation where I was separated from my family and didn’t know whether they were alive or dead. I’m the type of person who would see something like the tsunami or the fires which are happening in Australia at the moment, and I have to switch it off because of the terrible stories that come out of it. I just tears me up inside. So after seeing The Impossible, I just wanted to go home and hug my loved ones a little tighter.

So let’s talk Academy Awards before I start my review. This is Naomi Watts’ second nomination in the Best Actress In A Leading Role category, her first being for 21 Grams in 2004.

Honestly, she is brilliant and this is her best work to date. I do believe Watts is better in The Impossible than she was in 21 Grams and her work in this film is Oscar worthy. However, I can’t make a decision on whether she will win the Academy Award as I have only seen one other performance in this category, which is that of Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts Of The Southern Wild (which I will be reviewing next).Two very different performances.

As I said though, I don’t want to make a prediction of who I think is going to win this category until I have seen all four performances.

No doubt Watts is very much deserving of this nomination though.

It is impossible to not be affected on an emotional level by The Impossible.

It is an incredible film, but a terrible film because it deals with something so intense and heart-breaking and has the potential to make you feel as though you have been hit by a bus when you leave the cinema.

On Boxing Day 2004, a tsunami hit south-east Asia which caused widespread devastation along the coast.
The Impossible is based on the true story of one of the holidaying families who were affected by the great natural disaster. Maria (Naomi Watts) and Henry Belon (Ewan McGregor) took their three young sons to Khao Lok for an exotic Christmas holiday. They are sitting by the resort’s pool when they hear the dreaded roar of the wave, before it appears wiping out everything in its path. Henry and the two younger boys remain in the vicinity of the hotel, while Maria and Lucas (Tom Holland) are swept away. The whole family fight for survival and in doing so learn about what is really important in life and dream of the time when they are all finally reunited.

Like the Bennett’s, The Impossible reminds you in a very brutal fashion what is important in this life. It is extremely moving and the emotion of the film cuts you to the core. The fact that this is a true story makes it even more intense. The great thing about the story and what makes it suspenseful is that at no point in time are you sure whether all five members of the family will ever be together again.

The film begins in a really interesting fashion. It almost has a horror movie feel to it, as you know the tsunami is the horror of the film and you know the film is building up to it. The black screen with the beginning credits is accompanied by the sounds of the ocean getting louder and louder. A serene and calm beach appears, and the image is interrupted by the deafening and surprising roar of a plane. It is an interesting choice by director, Juan Antonio Bayona, but one that works.

The cinematography is great. The recreation of the tsunami is incredible. The underwater shots of the wave are chaotic and give a dizzy effect, which is just like it would be underwater.

However, as to be expected, there are some very graphic visuals. There is no holding back in the hospital scenes and the injuries which Maria sustains are quite disturbing.

Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor are incredible in the two lead roles. Watts gives the performance of her career thus far. She is incredibly powerful and gives an amazingly realistic portrayal as a mother who would lay her life down for her children, but who’s strength is fading fast.

 Watts is deserving of her Oscar nomination, but it is a shame that Ewan McGregor hasn’t been acknowledged in the same way. His performance isn’t quite as graphic or confronting as Watts’, but he does give one of his best dramatic performances of his career. Again, he plays a father trying not to let his young sons see him falling apart, but when he does, it in heart-breaking.

Tom Holland is a star to watch. He is wonderful to watch, and the best thing about his character is that he has amazing character development. Lucas starts off as a typical teenage boy, and develops into a man in a short time.

A beautiful cameo by Geraldine Chaplin is also commendable.

There is nothing subtle about The Impossible. Everything is done to the extreme so it portrays the true horrors endured by this family.  Very hard-hitting and emotionally draining, but very well made and very hard to discard from your thoughts.


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