The Impossible (Juan Antonio Bayona, 2012): Spain
Reviewed by Robin Eriksson. Viewed on November 4 at AFI festival 2012
Almost exactly 8 years ago one of the biggest nature disaster in Thailand history struck the nation, and it cost around 230 000 people their lives, not only in Thailand but in whole Asia. This film is about one of the families in that disaster ( true story ). It was very emotional and I could hear people cry all over the theater. The director ( Juan Antonio Bayona ) only had one condition from the family, to use their story and that was that this movie wouldn’t just be about their family, it would be about all those that suffered. Juan really made that happened.
The film is an intense experience and insanely skillful filmmaking. The money is about 50% European and 50% foreign (mostly American), but production is almost entirely Spanish, with masterly effect, enormously advanced stunts and amazing photo. Even the opening credits set the tone perfectly and when the mayhem begins, one can hardly breathe in the cinema chair so strong it is. Afterwards begins the heartbreaking and very bloody and graphic second part, the search, after the children and survivors.
Bennett family has finally arrived from job stress and landed in Khao Lak, at a beach hotel that can only be described as fabulous. Father Henry (Ewan McGregor), mother Maria (Naomi Watts) and their three sons are enjoying life to the full, for that day. The day when a massive wave sweeps across the country and destroys everything in its path, divides the family and start an incredible human suffering and struggle for survival and a desperate search for relatives.
If I, or someone very close to me, had been in the real tsunami, I do not know if I’d palletized this. It is so incredibly realistic and mercilessly portrayed. How a man can be thrown down by a wave and thrown in a chaotic water that is full of dangers to break in, are horrendous. That it could happen. Bayona gives us the, dubious honor, that almost feel that we’ve been through tragedy itself.
I was really surprised by all the actors, Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts did everyone know since before that they were amazing actors, but the kids were also amazing. I had the honor to stay and watch the Q&A after the film and even Ewan Mcgregor was really amazed by this child actors ( Tom Holland, Samuel Juslin, Oaklee Pendergast ).
I will not tell the storys ending because i think that everyone should see that by them self.