It felt appropriate to see this film on the final day, according to the Mayan calendar, of mankind’s existence; for many who survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and the hundreds of thousands who perished, it was apocalyptic, and second only to the devastation of the 1556 earthquake in Shaanxi (Shensi), China.
Director J.A. Bayona’s magnificently horrifying, beautifully brutal scenes of the December 26th catastrophe, leave one breathless and shaking with its validity; how anyone survived is miraculous, “impossible”. The film is based upon a family of five who defied the odds; their tale is redemptive, cathartic, spiritual.
Imbued with scintillating acting “The Impossible” is stunning in its portrayal of survival and love. Naomi Watts, “Maria” ( I have been a huge advocate since the 2001 “Mulholland Dr.”); with few words, conveys monumental tenacity in holding on to her eldest son “Lucas” (incredible performance by Tom Holland), thinking that her husband and other two sons are dead. She is severely injured and the under water sequences of her punctured body are superbly spectacular. Ewan McGregor as her husband “Henry” is sensitive and genuine in his quest to find his wife and son, while keeping his other two boys out of harm’s way.
“The Impossible” , lacking sensationalism, is a remarkable film, depicting heroism from uncanny sources; natives of Thailand risking their own wellbeing in behalf of others; children, their childhood erased in seconds, saving other children; relief and hospital workers, Herculean in accomplishing the improbable. There is a smattering of the “hero” in every soul, ignited by the unforeseen, tested by the gods, proving that the individual can and doses transcend the catastrophic; rising above the menacing might of nature; in the wake of calamity, hope and dignity flourish in its aftermath.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!