“The Impossible” A Harrowing Tale Of Survival

Photo courtesy of Slate.

HOLLYWOOD—Some movies are gripping, some powerful and others are pure inspirations.  “The Impossible” which chronicles the tale of a family’s battle to survive during the events of the 2004 tsunami is devastatingly powerful to watch.  The movie stars Naomi Watts as Maria, matriarch to the Bennett family.  She and her family are enjoying a wonderful Christmas holiday inThailand, which is interrupted by the devastation that occurs the day after.

The picture does not waste much time diving into the action.  I thought it moved fairly fast to begin with, but that momentum just immerses the spectator into the picture so much more. Wattsis triumphant in her performance as a mother fighting not own to reunite with her family, but to stay alive herself.  The visual spectacle of the tsunami actually invading the unsuspecting vacationers is horrifying to watch.

The viewer is given an idea, but it’s unfathomable to capture that element of terror on the screen.  Seeing people and families literally swept away in a current of water is frightening. I for one will admit it; I’m petrified of large regions of water, as escape seems impossible so to see a family fight to survive such treacherous events is empowering.

“The Impossible” has gripping moments throughout that literally knocks the breath out of the spectator.  Watching that moment of Maria (Watts) dive right into the waves to attempt to rescue her eldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) was sensational.  It’s a gut reaction from a parent, anyone who has children to react without reacting no matter the consequence.  If I was in the situation, I know the same result would have taken place.  The first 40 minutes of the picture after the tsunami hits, chronicles Maria and Lucas’ journey to reunite their family.  The audience is not aware of what happened to her husband Henry (Ewan McGregor) or her youngest sons Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast).  For all we know, they’ve perished from the waves.

Emotions run high in the picture because so much devastation occurred in the region in the aftermath of the event that left thousands dead and so many others with no place to go.  Imagine searching for family and having no idea where to start.  Not only is it frightening, but also frustrating; grasping for hope, when it’s possible that your journey may end with a result one did not expect.

In my honest opinion the star of the picture is youngster Tom Holland.  What he does with this character is absolutely phenomenal.  Without a doubt his chemistry with actress Naomi Watts is perfection.  She hands down deserves a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work in the picture.  For voters out there getting ready to place votes in the Lead Actor race considerHolland.  There has been much buzz for the actor in the Supporting Actor race, but I argue otherwise.  He absolutely is the heart of the picture.  He’s the fighting spirit that keeps his mother going, his father and his brothers, all the while thinking of surviving himself.

McGregor also has some powerhouse moments in the picture, particularly that phone call home, which literally had my on the verge of tears, incredible acting on his part.  Director J.A. Bayona captures such vivid imagery for the picture.  It comes across grainy at times, but that cinematography presents realism to the movie that is difficult to shake.

“The Impossible” delivers one of the rawest and emotionally challenging performances I’ve seen on the screen in quite some time. Its the toughest picture I’ve ever watched, at times you find yourself wanting to take your eyes away from the screen. Not much buzz has been talked about the film as a Best Picture contender, but I would argue otherwise.  It is hands down a stellar picture able to compete alongside so many other pictures this year that stay with you long after you leave the theater.

By LaDale Anderson