Slick technique fails to save this tasteless tale of watery woeMovies
The Impossible - Trailer
An account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time.PT2M29S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-24rhw 620 349 August 24, 2012
HOW DO you tell the story of the Indian Ocean tsunami that devastated Thailand in 2004? How else but through the eyes of an English middle-class family, torn apart and forced to search for one another in the midst of horrific conditions no Westerner should have to endure.
The characters in The Impossible are based on actual people, though in reality the family was Spanish - as is the director J. A. Bayona, a sometime protege of Guillermo del Toro whose previous hit, The Orphanage, was a fairly effective supernatural thriller.
Bayona has retained his horror movie instincts, as he demonstrates in the film's opening moments, where the roar of a plane zooming past the camera tastelessly prefigures the nightmare to come.
The film as a whole is a symphony of pointlessly slick technique - mock-chaotic handheld camerawork, close-ups of anguished faces, special effects trickery galore - as if the Coen brothers had decided to use their talents to make a Spielbergian tearjerker.
Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts are perfectly competent as the separated husband and wife, but the characters never become more than simple archetypes: McGregor, in particular, is wasted in a role that could have been played by anyone.
An unpleasant aftertaste is left by the reduction of Thai characters to bit players, and by the implied moral that those who remain steadfast and hopeful in the presence of disaster will finally win through.
Presumably, this means that the victims who lost their families permanently just weren't trying.