The Impossible (2012)

Dir: Juan Antonio Bayona  Cast: Naomi Watts; Ewan McGregor
Cert.: 12A

With the DVD release this week, I review The Impossible, a film which depicts the tragedy and the incredible true story of the largest Tsunami in recorded history.

The Impossible, a film based on the true story of a family who were swamped by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami could not encapsulate the severity of the disaster more than it did. Following the story of a family of 5 who were staying on a holiday resort in Thailand, it shows their epic journey on the quest to find each other again. The mother, Maria, played by the fantastic Naomi Watts who deservedly has an Oscar nomination for this role, is on an unbearable venture to find help with her eldest son, Lucas (Tom Holland) whilst the father, Henry (Ewan McGregor), searches for her with the other two sons, Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast).

From the outset there is a chilling stillness which forebodes the terrible tragedy that is about to occur. A panoramic shot over the Indian Ocean a day before the tsunami is triggered gives the audience this omniscient viewpoint as they know danger is imminent, unbeknown to the people below. When the wave hits the scale of the disaster is unimaginable, the cinematic experience can only portray a fraction of what the true terror was like but even that was enough for the audience. Kudos to the production team who created the shots of Maria and Lucas being engulfed by the water with the shots below showing the extremity and speed of the washing machine that was the tsunami’s wave. The danger that surrounded above and below the surface conveys how truly remarkable any survival was.


Whilst the story of Maria and Lucas is gripping, Henry, the father, can only wonder where his wife and son are after the devastation of the tsunami. The vast landscape which is littered with trees, cars, houses and everyday items which once had purpose but are now worthless is disastrous and Henry can only hope of finding his loved ones. The Scottish born actor, Ewan McGregor, famously known for his role in Trainspotting (1996), gives a gripping performance, I’ve never heard a cinema audience so quiet as to when he rings home and speaks to his father. He portrays the feelings of the father with immense detail and should be applauded.


This film really conveys the bravery of a family which was torn apart by the horrific tragedy that claimed over 200,000 lives. In a civilisation surrounded by greed it shows that when catastrophes strikes the true love humanity has for one another shines. In a lovely scene where Lucas starts collecting names of lost ones in a packed hospital and goes to search for the missing victims, no matter what the language, it depicted the strength of love rather than the force of destruction. The film would have pulled at the heart strings of even the most hardened film veteran at times and really conveys the true family spirit that manifests when in the face of tragedy.

About Jack Miller

Film fanatic from Bedfordshire. I'm a big fan of social realism and anything by Shane Meadows! Enjoy dramas, thrillers & comedy and my favourite actor is DiCaprio. Keeps up to date with most sports and I'm an avid Leeds United fan forever being disappointed.

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