2 January 2013 7:15 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

As Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts battle the 2004 tsunami in The Impossible, debate is reignited over whether it's prejudice, studio cowardice or market forces that is keeping western film leads white

Spoiler alert: some plot details are revealed below

The Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 killed at least 227,898 people. Around a third of these were children. The economy of coastal south-east Asia was devastated, with the loss in some places of two thirds of the boats on which fisherfolk depended. The environment was irreversibly defiled. Since many of the bodies were never found, psychological trauma was compounded by the tradition in many of the areas affected that the dead must always be buried by a family member.

Scope here for drama you might have thought. Yet The Impossible, like Clint Eastwood's Hereafter before it, concentrates not on the plight of the indigenous victims but on the less harrowing experiences of privileged white visitors. »

- David Cox

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