Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Impossible

In 2004, A British couple (Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor) and their three young sons take their Christmas holiday at a Thai resort (talk about timing!) and, while basking poolside in the splendid sun, are swept away by a monstrous tidal wave. Battling the catastrophic elements and chaotic conditions, the family struggles to survive and find their way back to each other. The 2004 tsunami was the largest on record, claiming the lives of over 230,000 people in the region, and leaving approximately 18,000 dead, injured, and missing in Thailand alone. According to "The Impossible", a film by director Juan Antonio Bayona and based on a story by Maria Belon, one of its survivors, those hit hardest and almost exclusively were a handful of vacationing white tourists (Belon and her family are Spanish by the way). Bayona's film contains some excellent storm footage and a harrowing first person account of facing a deluge head-on, but the effect is quickly worn thin due by indelicacies,  heavy handedness and a detracting need by the director to constantly show overhead shots of the destruction (I'm serious, there's about ten of these shots in the movie). Naomi Watts will probably score an Oscar nomination tomorrow, but all she really does is writhe in complete pain and agony for the duration. Ewan McGregor delivers another boring and uninspired performances while the child actors are completely insufferable. Whenever movie loses me for whatever reason, something I like to do is make up alternate titles in my head to help make it through the ordeal. Here I came up with " My Big Fat 2004 Thai Holiday Excursion", "How Not to Use the Buddy System", and "Rich White People: The Only Ones who Matter in the Face of a Natural Disaster."