Film review: The Impossible (3 out of 5 stars)

There’s a distinct dilemma associated with a film such as this. Is it a good idea to relate a true story about an event that killed thousands of people?

Tuesday, 8th January 2013, 8:53 am

The 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean devastated enormous stretches of land, literally sweeping all before it.

As well as the staggering death toll, millions others were left homeless across 11 countries.

So it is rather strange that a movie-maker should focus on one Spanish family that experienced the tsunami in an attempt to bring this natural disaster to the big screen.

The film is directed by a Spaniard, Juan Antonio Bayona, and the production team hail from that country.

Fairly acceptable so far. but in a move clearly aimed at gaining a wider audience we have a British duo taking the main roles.

I have nothing against Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts - both highly accomplished actors - but it just seems a strange move.

In terms of a cinematic experience, Bayona creates a powerful movie, attempting to show the sheer terror and incredible power that the mighty wave brought with it.

The story follows this one family, a couple and their three sons, who are spending Christmas at a new seaside hotel in Thailand.

Then all hell breaks loose and the wife and eldest son are carried inland, getting bashed and bruised by debris.

The film follows their desperate attempt to find the other half of the family and shows the way the locals came to the rescue and how we all usually rally round in times of adversity.

However, it wasn’t helped by the introduction of quite loud and rather over the top music.

Plus, the old chestnut of people narrowly missing each other just got annoying at times.

On the up side, McGregor and Watts serve up highly emotional performances and the three children are excellent.

The eldest, played by Tom Holland (a former stage Billy in Billy Elliot) is a name to look out for in the future.

Overall, The Impossible is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster once you get past the actual point of it in the fitrst place.

Film details: The Impossible (12A) 114mins

Director: Juan Antonio Bayona

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Tom Holland

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley

Steve Payne