Written by / 1/24/2013 / No comments / , , , ,

THE IMPOSSIBLE

year: 2012 cast: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Tom Holland rating: ***
THE IMPOSSIBLE is not entirely a disaster film but one more centered on persistence and courage during the aftermath of a horrible real life tragedy.

We begin with an American family on an airplane during a sort of busman’s holiday to Thailand. The patriarch, Ewan McGregor’s Henry, has business pending in Japan and is allowed this break along with his wife and three kids, your typical family not without problems.

The oldest son Lucas, played by the talented newcomer Tom Holland, isn’t very sympathetic of his little brothers, who aren’t entirely comfortable flying. Some subtly tense moments have the plane undergoing turbulence as Director Juan Antonio Bayona plays with the character’s built-up stress and fear for the unknown. That is, we know what's coming but they don't.  

When the family checks into a fancy hotel and settles poolside, the nature surrounding the hotel is poised and just too quiet, eerie. Cut to the chase: when the Tsunami arrives, thundering from the ocean like a roaring beast, the special effects are pretty amazing but the characters don't get lost in the mix. 

Naomi Watt’s Maria and Lucas are swept up and taken for a very jolting ride throughout the ravaged, water-filled countryside. The first act deals with surviving the thrust of the water and most important, remaining together throughout the harrowing, bone-crushing journey.

When both mother and son wind up at a makeshift emergency hospital, and Maria is severely injured and must be operated on, the action centers entirely on Lucas frantically roaming the grounds, passing messages back and forth to other families. This becomes his story – kind of an EMPIRE OF THE SUN about a young man forced to think on his feet and grow up quickly.

When we cut to Henry (McGregor), waking up within the ruins of the hotel and reunited with the two youngest sons, the movie becomes more of a searing art film than a struggle for survival. Not only is this segment not as interesting, it lacks the desperation of Lucas’s plight, which is returned to sporadically.

Although Ewan McGregor’s intensity to rediscover his loved ones, and Naomi Watt’s fight to survive her very severe injuries, are impressively acted and important to the overall story of a family reuniting, this is really the story of a young man caught in-between a tragic catastrophe and the determination to beat the impossible odds.
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