I went to see The Impossible last night, met my other cinema buddy there at 9pm and it was ridiculously busy!! Fortunately I can get my tickets at the food counter with my unlimited card but we still had to sit on the second row. We were so close to the screen you could see the curve, and had to turn our heads to see any action going on in the left or right of the screen. Why do they put seats that close?! By the time the adverts and trailers had passed though I had kind of gotten used to it, and so The Impossible started.
This film had so much press it was starting to annoy me, so I had a lot of preconceptions about the movie itself. I knew I was going to cry, and I knew that it was not going to be a happy experience. Now I have watched it I can safely say I was right (every girl that came out that cinema had running make up and red eyes), but did I enjoy the film?
The fact that it is based on a real families experience of the Tsunami is astonishing, when we hear about these major catastrophes I don’t think we can ever comprehend the severe damage done, not just to countries on a whole but to individual people. The Impossible captured the emotional trauma caused by such disasters aswell as the physical damage. For someone who gets very emotionally invested in characters in a good film, I probably should have steered clear of this one for fear of being traumatised.
The family is made up of Maria and Henry (played by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor) and their 3 sons, Lucas, Thomas and Simon. They are on holiday in Thailand, having a lovely time obviously. It quickly sets up the happy family, giving a background to the characters – Maria is a Doctor who wants to go back to work but is currently a house wife, Henry works for a big company and they all live in Japan. Immediately you get a sense of love and family from the characters which makes the next scene so horrifying. The family is playing by the pool in an idyllic resort, and then the wave hits. It happens so quickly that people don’t know whether to run or hide, by the time the water hits it’s too late anyway. I don’t know how this was done, but it looks amazing. It was so dramatic I actually gasped. They really manage to get the sheer impact of the wave across to the audience.
The journey that follows is tremendous. Some of the things the family go through are ‘Impossible’. Maria and Lucas are separated from Henry and the other two younger brothers. Firstly Naomi Watts did a fantastic job of being the ever strong mother despite being absolutely battered by the wave. I really felt her pain and it made every one in the cinema wince and cringe while she struggles to get to safety with Lucas. There is a lot of blood and close-ups of pretty gory injuries, but nothing that over whelms the plot. It is all relevant, and helps the audience understand the terror that came as well as the destruction. The bond between mother and son is fantastic in this, and Tom Holland who plays Lucas is consistantly brilliant in this film.
The story then finds Henry, who is desperately searching for the rest of his family. Ewan McGregor has always been a favourite of mine, and he is just as good in this as he always is. The lost father, who doesn’t give up the hope of finding his family, goes on a seemingly futile search with the help of a fellow survivor who had lost his wife and daughter.
It is an absolutely heart breaking story, and so well executed. It also shows how the human race come together and help each other out in times of need. There is a very touching moment where some one lends Henry a mobile phone to call home, despite obviously needing to reserve the battery for himself. This set off every one in the audience, if the heart wrenching phone call in this film doesn’t make you even a little teary then NOTHING will make you cry! My point is though that films showing that the human race would turn on each other in world disasters aren’t necessarily right. I’d like to think that everyone would help each other out, just as we have done in the past when disasters such as the Tsunami occur. Maybe I am naive, who knows!
So did I enjoy this film? I can’t say that I had an enjoyable time watching it, to quote my friend ‘it was like being punched in the face’, and I probably wouldn’t watch it again unless I was feeling particularly depressive, BUT I can’t deny that it was excellently done, it has some beautiful shots (look out for Maria bursting out of the water near the end), and the cast were brilliant, including the little boys. I would suggest if you do go and watch this film, don’t sit at the front – the camera is jerky and that wasnt great so close to the screen, take some tissues, and take a friend who doesn’t sob out loud in the cinema (awkward!), and don’t expect to come out of the cinema in a great mood. But DO expect to see a pretty epic film.