Based off the true occurrences of the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in 2004, Director Juan Antonio Bayona sweeps away the audience of “The Impossible” into the lives of a family who endured the brutal storm.
While on vacation in Thailand, Henry (Ewan McGregor) and Maria (Naomi Watts) take their three sons for the holidays and find themselves being held hostage to one of the worst natural disasters of this time.
Bayona creates the perfect illustration of the catastrophic impact the storm makes on tens of thousands of lives through his cinematic technique, setting and cast.
The use of documentary-like footage for the tsunami scenes creates a gut-wrenching depiction of how Southeast Asia was turned upside down and stripped down to the remains of a once fruitful country. Bayona begins the movie in providing just the right amount of background of the family before leaping into the storm itself. Rather than dragging the audience along for a monotonous half-hour of family dynamics, the relationships are established early on.
The most intense scene, which introduces the tone for the rest of the movie is the tsunami sequence. Obviously, Bayona could not recreate the horrific storm, but with the help of special effects and some on-set shots in Thailand, a terrible yet beautiful sequence of scenes were strewn together to depict absolute terror.
Full of several scenes of the tsunami, “The Impossible” also shows the aftermath of the storm and what becomes of McGregor and his family after the storm. Just how thousands of families were separated back in 2004, the movie focuses on how McGregor and Watts reunite their family despite the impossible obstacles that keep them apart. The casting of Bayona is what truly makes the movie that much more emotional. In casting Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as the leading characters, the audience is able to feel that much more connected during both the hopeless and hopeful climaxes of the story.
The events of the tsunami that took Southeast Asia and left it to shreds was transformed into both an equally saddening and beautiful masterpiece in “The Impossible.” With a strong cast and moving story line, this movie introduces a new meaning of what it means to create a powerful story that not only entertains, but leaves the audience changed as they leave the theater.