A regular family - Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three kids - travel to Thailand to spend Christmas. They get an upgrade to a villa on the coastline. After settling in and exchanging gifts, they go to the pool, like so many other tourists. A perfect paradise vacation until a distant noise becomes a roar. There is no time to escape from the tsunami; Maria and her eldest are swept one way, Henry and the youngest another. Who will survive, and what will become of them? Written by
The film takes place from December 24 to December 27, 2004. See more »
In the hospital, where Thomas and Henry are talking, the ceiling fan at the top left is off. In the next shot, the ceiling fan is on. See more »
On December 26th, 2004,the deadliest tsunami on record hit the South East Coast of Asia. The lives of countless families all over the world changed forever. This is the true story of one of those families.
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The title and the rest of the credits do not appear until the end of the film. The only credits that appear at the beginning are the production companies' logos and an explanation of how the Tsunami came about. See more »
Disaster films have an odd reputation, often merely dismissed as popcorn fodder, so it's strange to have a film billed as such but to put character and drama over spectacle. Then again, as it's based on a true story, it's probably unfair to label 'The Impossible' as such a movie because the plight of the characters is at its heart throughout the entire duration. Perhaps this film is best described as a family drama with elements of disaster, then.
The Boxing Day tsunami was one of those events that put our lives into perspective, and the film achieves the same feat. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts play the parents of three children who decide to spend an exotic Christmas in Thailand. Suitcases are unpacked, presents are exchanged, but the sense of impending disaster is overwhelmingly unsettling. When the inevitable does happen, the following 15 minutes are intense, realistic and terrifying; an onslaught of terrific practical effects and incredible sound design. However, after that concentrated outburst, the drama shifts down a gear to a more intimate, personal level, which is no less frightful.
That is why this film shines; it's about the smaller picture. By focusing on the survival of this one family rather than the scale of the event itself, a better, and more human, representation of the disaster is displayed. The performances from the central cast are nothing short of spectacular, especially Tom Holland, who carries the film for a hefty chunk of the running time with a gravitas that many older actors would fail to achieve.
Many criticisms have been made in the press about the anglicisation of the story; in reality, the family was Spanish. To me, that seemed to be a decision to globalise this story to the maximum amount of people, a decision that was warranted in my eyes. Thus, the main issue with the film was the score to be unnecessarily overriding in certain scenes, adding an unwanted sentimentality to the film. The scenes which worked best were confrontational, uncompromising and, you guessed it, without a swelling orchestra. Nevertheless, this is a minor gripe considering that this is a film where tears are wholeheartedly justified.
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