Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Impossible: Movie Review

Forcing us to cry rather than giving us characters to emotionally connect with.

“The Impossible” is a film seemingly impossible to unite audiences despite the fact that we can all agree on a number of things. After a brief introduction to the characters, the film opens with the tsunami. It’s a fairly remarkable sequence – immersing the audience under the water, we all come up gasping for air just as the main characters do and then we’re left surveying the ruins as the water washes away all hope. 2012

Directed by: Juan Antonio Boyona

Screenplay by: Sergio G. Sanchez

Starring: Tom Holland, Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor

It will trigger emotions. That’s a fact. But it’s sometimes hard to appreciate its emotional pull. Personally, I found it was cheap manipulation. Making you cry just for the fun of it not because it truly deserves the out-pouring of our emotions.

The film centers on a British family vacationing in Thailand in December 2004 based on one true story of a Spanish family. After the tsunami hits, the family is separated. The mother, Maria (Naomi Watts) resurfaces in sight of the eldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) and for approximately the next half hour they were reaching out for each other, finger-tips almost touching just as another wave would come and push them farther away. It’s sad and inspirational at the same time, but it seemed like a frustrating sadness. It would be impossible to recount those events exactly as they unfolded in the time of an immense natural disaster, so why choose such a cheap tool to do it with?

After Maria and Lucas struggle to reach each other and then safety, we switch to the father, Henry (Ewan McGregor), he, thankfully, has found the two youngest sons, relatively unharmed and they just want to reconnect with mom and brother. I like Ewan McGregor as much as the next person, but Henry decided he needed to leave his sons with a complete stranger and go out looking for his wife in the pitch darkness where he can’t see a thing. Any other storyline would be better than that stupidity.

The main plot as presented in the trailer, suggests that Lucas finds he has an unknown talent in helping other lost families reconnect. I would have been happy to have that as the main story, but that was just one scene. The rest of the movie was just a lot of screaming. “MOM!” “DAD!” “LUCAS!”

I did want them to find each other; I just wanted them to do it with less screaming. And less crying. “The Impossible” essentially asked, “Do you like crying? Good, want to cry some more?” How many more tears do you have left in you? Approach with caution.