For those of you who are familiar with my "Death from the Deep" series of reviews, you may think that they only refer to some kind of oceanic, man eating monster/s, which stalk from below, before rising to the surface, to rip apart their mostly human prey, when in fact, they refer to the fact that the water can be a mysterious and sometimes cruel mistress, which has and will continue to claim countless lives, until the end of time and possibly beyond.
The Impossible is directed by Juan Antonio Bayona and stars the magnificently talented Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin and Oaklee Pendergast, along with a massive cast of brilliant supporting actors and extras. The film tells the true-life story of one family's incredible struggle to survive, during one of the most devastating days of our time, when a natural disaster, in the form of a massive tsunami, hit Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, killing over 230,000 people, following the third largest earthquake, (which happened to be a undersea megathrust), ever recorded on a seismograph, on Boxing Day, in 2004.
The film follows the journey that the Belon family took to Thailand for the Christmas season. It starts with the family excited to touch down in Thailand, (especially as Maria, the mother of the family, and one of her kids are nervous about flying). They soon begin relaxing in the luxuries that their dream getaway has to offer.
They arrive on Christmas Eve, travel a short distance to their lavish hotel and begin to settle in. Later that evening, they go down to the beach, with everyone else in the area, to fly sky lanterns. It is this scene that really got to me; watching all the families and couples embracing each other and watching their stunning lanterns fly high in the sky, across the ocean and beyond and having no idea of what they would all have to face; going through such a terrifying and deadly ordeal, that many of them probably wouldn't ever make it out alive.
Christmas Day and the Belon family have a wonderful time opening presents and enjoying the day. The next day (Boxing Day), they decide to have a splash in the hotel pool. The two youngest boys of the family; Tomas (aged 8) and Simon (aged 5), play in the swimming pool with their father, Henry, and their oldest son, Lucas, plays with his new ball, while Maria watches on and everyone in the area is relaxing and having a great time. Suddenly the power goes out and a terribly loud roar makes everyone stop in their tracks and they all look on, helplessly in horror, as a massive, murky tidal wave, which towers above the hotels roof, rips through everything in sight, leaving absolute destruction in its path.
Henry, Tomas and Simon are struck first, Lucas dives into the pool, just as the wave hits and Maria crouches by a plate glass window. Everyone is spun through the dirty, murky and dangerous water, like they are on an extremely rapid spin-cycle in a washing machine.
Through either sheer luck, or a true miracle, Maria and Lucas manage to find each other, amongst the chaos of being swept away and pummelled about, near drowned and watching others around them, either being swept further away, attempting to cling onto whatever they can, to keep above the water, while death and destruction is all that surrounds them.
The two of them manage to cling onto a fallen tree, until the water finally dies down. They then make the decision to wade through what is left of the water-filled land and it is only then that we begin to see the horrific damage that their bodies have taken, with squeamish results.
Meanwhile, Henry, Tomas and Simon were swept in the opposite direction and are in desperate search of their missing loved ones and to find out what happens next, you'll just have to see the movie.
The Impossible is at times, an extremely difficult film to watch, with brilliant and terrifying and sometimes beautiful cinematography, which really hits you with at least a glimmer of imagination as to what the victims of that dreadful day in our planet's history went through, even though it really does just scrape the surface.
WARNING: The following trailer may cause distress to some viewers.
The Impossible is rated M for mature themes, injury details, brief nudity and infrequent coarse language.