Billy's Film Reviews.

A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!

The Impossible – 2012

impossible_ver4_xlgThere is a certain attitude I posses when it comes to disaster films, and it is usually regarding the point of making them in the first place. A film such as “Pompeii”, when really contemplated, doesn’t have much to say about anything regarding the disaster of Mt. Vesuvius. Based on a factual event, a fictitious narrative is thrown in to make a film about it, which ultimately seems a little pointless.
Either way, 2012’s “The Impossible” is something rather different. Telling the story of a real-life family and their suffering during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, “The Impossible” (originally titled “Lo Impossible”) actually possesses some heart and soul, brought so painfully back to life through solid leading performances and an unforgiving directorial style. 

J. A. Bayona’s picture focusing on Mother Nature’s cruel capabilities, sees the Bennett family on vacation in Thailand, enjoying themselves and the stunning locations around them. Epitomising the phrase “then from out of nowhere”, disaster strikes, when an enormously vicious tidal wave crashes right through the coastal area, destroying everything in it’s way. In a dramatic turn of events, the audience accompany Maria Bennett (Naomi Watts) on her perilous journey to not only save her own life, but her family’s.
wattsGruesome, gruelling and gripping to watch unfold, “The Impossible” is a very surprising picture that focuses more on the family story of reunification, struggle and love more so than the sheer gratuitous disaster element that a film such as “Pompeii” did.
The post-disaster story is primary, and the disaster itself is secondary and brief in the grand scheme of things, which makes the overall film all the more investable. 

This is one of Ewan McGregor’s best performances to-date, and that’s saying a lot. One of the most diversely gifted actors at the moment, McGregor shines as Henry Bennett, and the emotions and relentless love-driven struggle he endures in order to reunite with his loved ones is both believable and heart-wrenching.
Watts is magnificent as well. Her character arguably suffers the most, at least physically, and the hardships she endures are also emotionally taxing and very difficult to watch at times. 

the-impossible05The children are definitely convincing. Child actors are difficult to watch at times, primarily because their acting skills have not blossomed as much as others and there is an obvious division that can prove distracting. However, the three sons, lead by Tom Holland’s Lucas were highly impressive and equally as touching.
To think these incidents occurred not too long ago and have repeated themselves since in other horrifying forms really puts our world in perspective. We count ourselves lucky and feel genuine sympathy for these poor, poor people who have lost so much and gone through hell on earth. 

“The Impossible” is a touching and harrowing tale that is not for the faint of heart. There are brilliant performances within and some really striking images to add to the mix.
Bayona’s vision is brought to the big-screen in a justifiable fashion as it paints an un-glorified picture of the devastating factual events that took place without over-dramatising it. Sure, the film has it’s cliche moments, but they’re not enough to really detract from the predominantly gritty story at hand.
Ultimately, a film such as “The Impossible” proves that we have no way of predicting or controlling our unforgiving planet’s movements, and that to me is scariest of all.

4/5

Recommended By Alise Dolly

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7 comments on “The Impossible – 2012

  1. Noémie
    December 3, 2014

    I ranked it 5th in my top 2012 movies 🙂 I was very sceptical before watching it but the actors were brilliant and the movie itself was so powerful.

    Good review 🙂

    • wmsteele
      December 7, 2014

      Oh wow! A very high rating. I’m happy to see that you also liked it a lot though!

  2. Noémie
    December 7, 2014

    Well I gave a 4 too, that year was not the best. But anyway, really liked it!

  3. wmsteele
    December 7, 2014

    What was your top 10 that year?

  4. Noémie
    December 7, 2014

    1: De rouille et d’os (rust and bones, already recommended ;)) / 2: Cosmopolis/ 3: Moonrise Kingdom/ 4: Argo/ 5: The Impossible/ 6: My week with Marilyn/ 7: The Artist/ 8: Dans la maison (In the House) / 9: The Chronicle/ 10: Mission Impossible 4

    • wmsteele
      December 7, 2014

      Hmmm. Mission Impossible? Interesting. I never saw it.
      I thought Cosmopolis was meant to be crap! I might check it out.

      I liked Looper, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty (to an extent).
      Also I really want to see Amour. Ive heard nothing but praise about that one

  5. Noémie
    December 7, 2014

    Well yeah, not my best year but I was very surprised how good Ghost Protocol was, compared with the 3rd one. Not the best movie ever, but fun to watch.

    I was not impressed at all by Looper. Lot of mistakes and the end tooooo easy.
    I liked Silver LInings Playbook but won’t be in my favourites. I’m not a James Bond fan at all and I only liked Casino Royale so far. I found Lincoln the most boring movie of the year (I actually fell asleep for like 10/15min). And finally, Zero Dark Thirty is 2nd on my 2013 list (Came out in January here).

    I’ve seen Amour later as I’m never sure about Haneke movies. But it actually ended in my top 5 of “non 2013 movies” last year

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