Posted by: GregMo Roberts Source:Killer Reviews
Another of the many World Premieres showcasing at the Toronto International Film Festival with hopes of Oscar glory is, The Impossible, the true story of a family’s struggle to reunite after being violently separated when the tsunami hit the beach of sun soaked Thailand in 2004.
The film stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as the two parents of three young boys that were vacationing in Thailand over Christmas when the tsunami devastated the country and shocked the world.
With a prerequisite set-up of the main characters, the tsunami hits early in The Impossible and packs an incredible punch. As the wave crashes through the hotels pool area and sweeps away the five members of the family, we watch in terror as Maria (Watts) and Lucas (Tom Holland) struggle to stay above the raging water and within arms lengths of each other.
Once the water settles, the badly injured Maria and Lucas begin a journey of survival without knowledge as to the fate of the missing three members of the family. Lucas is forced to mature beyond his years and assist in getting his mother to a hospital for immediate emergency attention and is the key to the more emotional scenes that conclude the film.
The Impossible is only the second film made using new 3-D sound technology (the film is in 2-D) and the crashing and fast flowing water sequences can be heard, and almost felt, throughout the entire theatre.
When not fully engrossed in our characters’ plights and emotionally tied to their survival, we are thoroughly repulsed by the graphic scenes of bodily destruction that blood soak the screen. Director J.A. Bayona is no stranger to horrific make-up effects as he was the genius behind the camera for The Orphanage (2007) and he pulls no punches here. Some audience members were seen turning their heads unable to ingest the graphic nature of effects and few were even seen exiting while the scenes played out in long detail.
Thanks to the trailers, we know (generally) how the movie concludes. But just like Ron Howard’s masterful Apollo 13, J.A. Bayona still keeps us at the edge of our seats even with an ending that is both clear and true to the original story.
The Impossible does have its shot at some Awards glory. Watts and McGregor pull off incredibly emotional and physical scenes and films that deal with real life tragedy and the human spirit that overcomes those tragedies usually find favour with award voters.
But whether or not The Impossible gets any gold plated hardware it does not take away from the tiring and emotional journey that audiences will take with their characters. The Impossible is the best depiction yet of the Indian Ocean tsunami and the horrors that succeeded it. It is also one of the best movies we have seen so far this year. Packed with equal scenes of tearful drama and graphic horrors. And although the wave is the catalyst that propels the plot, the characters are so strong that the big wave that hits the resort will hardly be the thing you most remember.