Had no interest in watching a movie in watching “THE IMPOSSIBLE,” a Hollywood movie about the 2004 tsunami that hit Indonesia and killed more than 200,000 people. Why bother? Didn’t want to think about it again, had already heard enough about that disaster. But then it showed up at the $2 movie theater. “THE IMPOSSIBLE,” as a title, stinks, and it didn’t mean a thing to me. After some online research, I realized Ewan McGregor and Namoi Watts were in it, and that critics like it, but it had gotten some negative criticism for its casting.
It’s a true story about a Spanish family vacationing in Thailand, but probably to increase its chance of making money, Hollywood recast them as couple from Britain. Regardless, now we were in the theater. Tears flowed, jaws dropped, and unpleasantness remained a constant. It wasn’t fun to watch, but the horror of the disaster was real. From the vomiting and wheezing in the hospital while waiting for surgery, to submersion in mud water where tree branches rip skin and plants wrap around your neck, it is a terrifying trip.
This movie is nothing like disaster movies you’ve seen before, say movies like “TWISTER” or “DEEP IMPACT” from the mid-1990s. A Spanish director named Juan Antonio Bayona directed “THE IMPOSSIBLE.” His previous effort was a “THE ORPHANAGE,” a horror movie from 2007. Ahah! Bayona’s team, by staying true to this true story, and deploying Hollywood money in the right places (it has an incredible soundtrack), created a movie-going experience so visceral, draining and informative that it deserves it own new category. Chances are we’ll never see a film like it again. It’s made a paltry $19 million in the U.S. Overseas, though, it fared better bringing in $150 million. Depending on the budget, which has not been released, it might not make a profit. Look for it as a rental, but be ready for pain, tears, more pain … and then… you’ll have to wait and see.