Oscar® Nominee for Best Actress in a leading role
Reviewed by: John Decker
Action History Thriller Drama
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
December 4, 2012 (festival)
December 21, 2012 (exclusive engagements begin)
DVD: April 23, 2013
being caught in a major catastrophe (natural disaster)
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (off-site)
survival / protecting your family
Pain and suffering
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
father son relationship
being separated from family
mother son relationship
“Nothing is more powerful than the human spirit.”
Why would I start a review for a film that possesses many qualities by telling the potential audiences that it has two scenes of short female upper frontal nudity? It’s because that’s how the film starts—within minutes we are introduced to a quick glimpse of Maria’s undressed top as she dresses. The other instance occurs after the initial devastation, when Maria realizes that the strap on her top has broken. It’s a little longer of a hold this time, and I’m thinking that the artist wanted to convey something about the human condition. She is cut and bruised, her beauty is torn down. I am given the impression that we see this woman’s nakedness first in a glamorous light and then in a dim one, to take us emotionally from our high place of health and beauty to that dark place where tragedy awakes us and our figures are more plain. Life is more plain. This is certainly the job of a film about such devastation. However, the story is so well told. Why the showing of nakedness when the rest of the film is fairly clean? I’ll leave the unraveling of Hollywood’s ways for you to answer. Each of today’s living generations, old to young, will only benefit from thinking this through. This painting didn’t need an aspect of nudity and having it didn’t help move the story.
To finish the topic of the human body for this story, there are quite a few bathing suits, which are natural to the location, and I believe there is a naked man walking down the street at one point,but he is far from the camera, and I did not make this part out well—I think that’s what was intended by the shot. There are also long-shots of naked (dead) bodies and perhaps more nudity prior to a surgery.
There is no cursing, save “oh my g_d” being shouted three times. There is some affectionate actor husband-and-wife kissing. There is no violence but that which the earth gives. Under the circumstances, it’s fairly graphic—drowning, cuts, gouges, and a lot of blood.
“The Impossible” is a film about a family torn apart and dying. One moment they are on an island vacation, and the next they are subjects of a cruel, natural disaster. It is based on a real story that started December 26th, 2004 when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit. It is about a western family and their struggle for survival amid horrid devastation. It is uplifting, but heavy.
The cinematic content of the film is sufficiently engaging, delivering perhaps more than one would expect from a film about such tragedy. In fact, as I think of it, it may well be to me the most cinematically intriguing film of its genre, period. Cinematographer Oscar Faura’s camera shots are advanced, well thought out, not overdone and bring us into the scene, rather than into the camera. I would make one exception to that statement with a flashback scene at the end, which was a little showy and awkward. This film portrays what this family went through very well. It made emotional impressions on me that I believe will last.
The film sticks with me. It reminds me of how delicate our health is, how we can be brought to dust so quickly. Those may be typical themes for the genre, but this film does it quite well. As for the story, some may find it to be somewhat narrow. It’s basically about this one family’s plight amidst an event that claimed, according to about.com, approximately 245,000 lives. In one sense, that narrowness is simply a way to tell a story, a certain type of story, and for that I’ll give the film credit. If it had a more complex weave, including more about lives of other travelers or even locals, some value could have been added. We are spoiled by high production costs, are we not? The massive effort that went into the making of this film could not be easily conveyed. The acting is excellent. The scenes usually move at a fast enough pace for our modern tastes. The characters are endearing.
I will go so far as to say that this film will probably stand out to me as the best film for its subject matter (hope amid devastation, love can be a thousand pound word) ever made, and my recommendation of this film would come ever so high, were it not for some of the first mentioned, unnecessary elements.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
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