The Impossible review (Blu-ray)

You'll need to have a box of tissues handy when watching The Impossible, because there will be tears. This epic film from Spanish screenwriter Sanchez and director Bayona about one family’s horrific ordeal is one hard to forget.

Based on the true story of a family of five caught among the tens of thousands of holidaymakers in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that hit Indonesia, The Impossible is the remarkable account of their determination and strength that brought them through it.

We already know what happens, but this does not fail to shock. Maria (Watts), her husband Henry (McGregor) and their three sons Lucas, Simon and Tomas are blissfully playing in the pool in their Thai holiday resort when the wind picks up and we hear a gut-wrenching crack. Suddenly, a wall of black water storms through, without mercy for anything in its path and separates the family of five.

The Impossible is the family’s journey back to each other. They are hurt, lost, confused and aren’t sure if they’re looking for people or bodies. They have no phones, no shoes and they’re wounded. And they are among thousands of foreigners trying to survive the catastrophe that was one of the world’s biggest natural disasters.

This is not a pleasant film and there are definitely points that will stir discomfort. People are wounded and dying and we see some disturbing sights from Watts’ character especially. There are several gruesome moments that aren’t quite expected and may turn some viewers away. Also, those images of a nation in devastation are hard to rid the mind of and seeing this film will make you think back to the shock of seeing this happening live on the news.   

Everything about this film makes you feel the pain of the people who experienced this tragedy. The characters, especially Maria and eldest son Lucas (Holland) are so real it hurts. The performances are nothing short of fantastic and the family who they are portraying should be proud of the way their story has been told.

The Impossible is by no means a light movie to watch, but definitely place it at the top of your DVD list – along with a box of tissues.

EXTRAS ★★★ An audio commentary; the featurette Casting The Impossible; the featurette Realising The Impossible; deleted scenes; interviews with the cast; and the theatrical trailer.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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