'The Impossible' is based and inspired from the true events of 26th December 2004 pertaining to a Spanish family of five that were on holiday that fateful day in Thailand when the Tsunami struck. One major change that the movie makes is to turn the Spanish family into a British one, don't know why but could have to do with commercial interests served with an English language product.
Holidaying in Khao Lak, Thailand, Henry (Ewan McGregor), his wife Maria (Naomi Watts) and their three children are having one heck of a Christmas holiday, that is until the tsunami strikes with utmost ferocity leaving a torrent of destruction and death in it's wake. Told from the perspective of the family the movie becomes a first hand account of the horrors faced by the people that day and particularly those who survived the initial wave.
Like any disaster movie this contains the obligatory setup phase which introduces us to the characters, locations and so forth and then the disaster (great SFX & VFX show) and then the survival leading maybe to a happy ending. What this movie does effectively is to keep us invested in the characters and not strip away any of the horrors they face. So even after the initial tsunami strike is over, there might be danger lurking around every turn for those onscreen and honestly you'd care enough to root for them to make it out alive and not just be part of the numbers game in a disaster movie.
The tsunami itself is achieved with such mastery that it inspires awe and instils fear at the very same time. The scenes during the wave striking the mainland are harrowing to say the least and maybe give you a very real glimpse into what it must have been like for those who were struck, helplessly dragged along crawling and battling for their very existence.
Naomi Watts is magnificent in her role McGregor supports her ably. It is Tom Holland however as the eldest son of the family who is an absolute revelation.
Go watch 'The Impossible', it might seem like just another disaster movie but this is more than just that. Filled with wonderful performances, harrowing moments of survival, brilliant effects and an evocative background score, this movie is a triumph. Don't miss it.