Pin It
Favorite

Wave of Drama 

The Impossible brings a heartbreaking story from the horrific 2004 tsunami to life

click to enlarge art18832.jpg

A friend said to me the other day, “I already saw the Clint Eastwood tsunami movie, so I don’t need to see this one.” My response to her came from The Beatles’ “She Said, She Said”: “No, no, no, you’re wrong!”

Yes, Eastwood’s Hereafter began, like The Impossible, with a horrific recreation of the Indian Ocean tidal wave that swept through Indonesia on Boxing Day of 2004. Hereafter then splintered off into tales of life after death and spirituality, but The Impossible stays put, telling the story of what happened to one family that had the bad luck to be vacationing right at that devastating act of God’s ground zero. We’re with mom, dad and their three kids on their turbulent plane ride into Thailand during their happy Christmas together, and as they loll about with other vacationers on the beautiful, sunny morning of Dec. 26.

Then the power goes out, and the wind picks up, and the rain starts, and the birds fly away... and there’s an otherworldly noise. Enter the visual effects team and its wall of brown water, taking out everyone and everything in its path.

I wasn’t looking at my watch while the exhilarating, terrifying sequence played out, as I couldn’t even think about glancing away from the screen, so I have no idea how long it lasted, though it seemed breath-holdingly endless.

But moments after a now-creepy calm was restored, and the cameras peered around at an Oscar-worthy example of mass destruction production design, the film was reformatted into a story of a family that’s been physically torn apart and emotionally beaten down, of people who are struggling to survive while trying to focus on a glint of hope that other members are still alive and they will be reunited.

Naomi Watts goes for and attains new acting heights in that she’s onscreen a lot, but does far more silent emoting (after plenty of initial screaming) than delivering lines of dialogue. The only reason Ewan McGregor, as her husband, is slightly less effective, is that he has much less screentime. But the standout performance goes to young Tom Holland, as their son Lucas, who practically morphs into manhood as he’s forced to take charge in a situation no one could be ready for.

A couple of cliché-like gaffes pop up a couple of times, but they hardly make a dent on one of the biggest, most searing and dramatic films of the year. 

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Enemy No. 1
  • Enemy No. 1

    Oliver Stone's Snowden doesn't break new ground but is still a thrill ride
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • True West
  • True West

    The Magnificent Seven returns to a much-needed territory: Western heroism
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Scratch That
  • Scratch That

    Bridget Jones's Baby feels almost proudly stuck in another era
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
One Heart Native Film Festival

One Heart Native Film Festival @ Bing Crosby Theater

Fri., Sept. 30 and Sat., Oct. 1

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Ed Symkus

  • Ode to <i>Joy</i>-less
  • Ode to Joy-less

    This reviewer really, really doesn't like Jennifer Lawrence
    • Dec 23, 2015
  • Winning Reboot
  • Winning Reboot

    Somehow, Arnold's return to the Terminator franchise makes for solid sci-fi
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • Dog of a Story
  • Dog of a Story

    Max wastes a promising idea on forgettable characters
    • Jun 24, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Art of the Deal

    Local indie labels offer artists another marketing option, but not everyone is convinced they're necessary
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

COUNTRY


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Behind the Music
  • Behind the Music

    The Grammy Awards are about much more than what you see on TV
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation