The Impossible – Screening Notes

“I will find them, I promise you that.”

The Impossible is based on the true story of the Alvaraz family and their incredible struggle to survive the Tsunami which devastated Thailand in 2004. Though the family’s nationality has been changed from Spanish to British the film is apparently a credible recreation of events. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts play parents whose career worries fade into insignificance when they are separated from each other by the disaster. Henry (McGregor) is left with two of their boys, while eldest son Lucas (Tom Holland) is swept away with Maria (Watts).
Director Juan Antonio Bayano made his feature debut with the creepy horror film The Orphanage (2007) and you can see the influence of that genre here. Bayano builds tension with close-ups of everyday objects being used (a juice blender, a ball bouncing) that coupled together with the ominous music seem to act as portents. The first act makes it very clear the devastating the effects of the Tsunami hitting the resort and the sound design department captures every crunching noise as trees are snapped like twigs, buildings demolished, and people dragged underwater. Camerawork is often handheld and used to disorient the viewer.
It would be unfair to reveal any more except to say after this powerful opening sequence the film becomes a journey through a ruined landscape as the survivors come together and try to find their own folk. While Watts received an Oscar nomination for her performance and McGregor also impresses young Tom Holland steals the film as the resourceful Lucas. There is also a striking but all too brief appearance from Geraldine Chaplin as a kindly stranger. The Impossible is a powerful but ultimately rewarding viewing experience. 


Written by Sergio G. Sánchez, Maria Bélon
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayano
Running time 114 mins
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2 thoughts on “The Impossible – Screening Notes

  1. Dear Kevin, I received a notify from linkedin containing your blog address. I don't know if I should contact you, but all I want to say is that I am very sorry about how things went up there in Ballater. I am now under psychiatric care, most problems stemmed from my condition. Also, my father committed suicide in 2008 leaving me and my mother in debts. Another burden I will have to deal with. All I can say is that I'm sorry for what I've done up there. I'd like to repay for the damages I've made, I don't know how. Best regards, Fabio Bovelacci (the deranged italian guy)

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