Well here we are, another movie that is loaded with controversy. I must admit, when I first saw the trailer for The Impossible, I myself did think, “Um… it’s a movie about white people… when hundreds of thousands of Asian people died.” It is pretty hard not to think that when you see what they did with the trailer. But I still wasn’t exactly surprised. I figured this for a Hollywood movie – where the American people always get the centre of attention. I was wrong. There, I said it. Don’t make me say it again. 

Firstly, this is a true story, based on a Spanish family. Secondly, it is actually a Spanish made film. And thirdly, the family are actually portrayed as British. Although it is never actually said in the film. I figured they attached the actors and then cast the kids so it made sense. The real Maria – portrayed by Naomi Watts – was actually adamant that they were seen as people, not as any nationality. Still, I can’t help but thinking there was a million stories to be told, and they told this one. About a family of Westerners. There is barely any references to the native population that was killed. In fact, all we really see of the locals is them briefly helping people – all unscathed themselves like it was some sort of isolated event to only effect white people. Don’t get me wrong, The Impossible is a very moving film. I just feel as though it isn’t a true and fair portrayal of the Tsunami. I guess it isn’t supposed to be – it is about one family’s struggle. But there is no reason that family couldn’t have been Thai. I get that they wanted to market the film to an English speaking audience, hence the Britishness, but still – they could have just made the family speak English. Simple. People have been making Ancient Romans, Musketeers and Aliens speak English for years in movies when it didn’t make sense. It would have been overlooked. Also, I can’t help thinking that yes the family were obviously scarred about their ordeal. But they get to go home. The Asian people don’t. Their plight was only just starting. What about the clean up? The hunting for dead? Rebuilding homes?

Anyway… rant over. I suppose I should review the film. I will try to be unbiased! If you look at The Impossible without prejudice and just see it as a story of one family, then it is a good film. I pretty much cried from start to finish. The direction really helped to bring a sense of hopelessness and panic to an already good script. And I was highly impressed by all the actors involved. Special mention goes to the young Tom Holland who played the eldest son Lucas. Wow. What a job he did. When you steal scenes from Naomi Watts, you know you’re a talented lad. Ewan McGregor was, as usual, fantastic – surely one of the most underrated actors working today. Naomi Watts gave every bit the performance you would expect from her, and the casting of the family overall was spot on. They gelled as a unit, and despite little screen time altogether, you really believed they were a family.

For what The Impossible sets out to do – move you – it succeeds. But I stress that, although you do get a view of the Tsunami itself, it isn’t really a retelling of the disaster. I hope that a film properly portraying the Boxing Day Tsunami will follow shortly. Overall, this is a quality, well made film. But ethically, I feel they should have waited to make it. The first movie about the Tsunami should have represented the main people effected by the tragedy.

7.5/10

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