Written by Phil Cerroni
By Matt Mugle
Title: The Impossible
It has been a while since a film caused me to hold my breath in the opening moments and not exhale until the credits rolled. The Impossible is an emotional rollercoaster that will toss you about and leave you gasping for air. Though that doesn’t sound enjoyable it is a proper quality for a film like this. Natural disaster films are common, but the personal journey conveyed in this one is rare. It is made even more draining because it happens to be a true account of one family’s nightmare.
Henry and Maria are spending the Christmas holidays at a coastal resort in Thailand with their three young boys. Without warning they are bludgeoned by one of the worst Tsunamis of our time. Separated from each other and wading through the destruction and devastation around them the family must try and survive while finding the ones they love.
The emotions conveyed by Watts and McGregor in this film are unparalleled. Your soul and heart wrench as you watch them try and hang on to any strand of hope. What is even more impressive is that never do they cross the line into over acting our audience manipulation. You feel as if you are watching these events unfold before your eyes and the raw emotion is exactly as you would expect. Many times I would have to remind myself to breath.
The opening sequences are the most exhausting. Unlike the characters, you know what is coming yet you know not when or how. When it does come, it is some of the most terrifying disaster moments created. Hats off to the creative team for making a film that is top notch in all facets. They could have tried and make it an end of the world, CGI engorged, fake fest. They also could have dumbed it down and lost the visual and emotional impact. But they succeeded in finding just the right balance.
Kudos too to the three young actors who play the kids in this film. They too had to convey fear, anxiety, depression and loss. I can’t imagine as a young child witnessing the horrors that followed the Tsunami while at the same time never knowing if you would see your parents again. The real life kids had to have grown up in a moment’s time and the young actors do that for us on screen. It is the power of the human will that they expertly grasp.
The Impossible is rated PG-13 for intense realistic disaster sequences, including disturbing injury images and brief nudity. There is nothing salacious or gratuitous in this film. What is there is what was seen and witnessed. It is important that the audience get that same feel.
I give it 4.5 out of 5 deep breaths. The acting is award worthy and the directing and storytelling are unbeatable.