Friday, January 4, 2013

Movie Review: "The Impossible"

Director J.A. Bayona's survival film, The Impossible, tells the harrowing true story of one family on vacation in Thailand on December 26th 2004, when the historic tsunami hit and separated this family.  The whole film follows two different stories:  the oldest son (Tom Holland) with his injured mom (Naomi Watts), trying to get her to safety, while the other two sons and their dad (Ewan McGreggor), search for his wife and son. 

The Impossible's script never really fleshes out the backstories of these characters, but what makes the film so affecting are the in-the-moment performances by the actors and the tense direction from Bayona.  The way Watts, McGreggor, Holland, and the other two child actors that make up the family, play their roles is where the film lives.  They take the events that they're given, and even though there is nothing to their characters that inform how or why they'd make decisions, the actor's decide to make their decisions based upon primal instincts of what one would do if their loved ones were lost or in danger. 

All of the child actors are perfectly cast, and teenager Tom Holland actually has the largest role in the film, delivering a soulful performance showing an emotional maturity that few actors in his age range have.  Then Watts and McGreggor both re-enforce why they're two of the premiere actors in the industry, with one close-up shot where Watts is being dragged to safety through the disaster area, being a moment worthy of Oscar contention.

While The Impossible's script is lacking in depth of character, the raw nature of the performances and the directing, as well as the beautiful cinematography, makes The Impossible a film worth seeing, but be warned, the rawness of seeing such devastation and physical injury could be unsettling for some moviegoers.

I give The Impossible a B+

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