Saturday, 15 December 2018

Naomi trumps Ewan in tsunami horror film

THE 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people and left devastation across a number of countries in

THE 2004 Boxing Day tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people and left devastation across a number of countries in Southern Asia is the subject of The Impossible (12A), released this weekend.

The film, based on a true story, tells the account of one family caught up in the terrifying disaster while on holiday in a plush Thai resort.

Henry (Ewan McGregor), his wife Maria (Naomi Watts) and their three children are separated when the tidal wave comes crashing down on their hotel. The family miraculously survive the natural disaster but their greatest challenge lies in the aftermath — their survival and their quest to be reunited.

The eldest of the three boys, Lucas (Tom Holland) manages to find his badly injured mum and tries to find the rest of his family. His desperate efforts to get help are matched by his father, who is doing the same.

Their mission is hindered on all sides by overstretched authorities who are struggling to cope with the physical and human wreckage in the aftermath of the tidal wave.

Critics have widely praised The Impossible for its stunning visual recreation of the horrific event — it appears to come straight out of an all-singing, all-dancing Hollywood studio but is in fact a coup for Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona.

There has been lots of praise also for the acting skills on display, with Naomi Watts reaping most of the accolades for her compelling depiction of a mother in desperate circumstances. Last week she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.

Although McGregor’s performance has been overshadowed by Watts, The Impossible creates an uplifting and touching account of how hope can overcome adversity. There’s also high praise for the young Tom Holland who makes his big screen leap from the West End, where he starred in the musical Billy Elliot.

The accolades for strong acting and stunning visual effects have been tempered a little by critics who point out that it’s a hugely Western-centric film, with very little emphasis on the thousands of Asians who also suffered in the catastrophe.

Nevertheless, The Impossible is an impressive achievement in shedding light on this horrific natural disaster. The film opens from Friday at the Regal Picturehouse.

Also screening this week in the Discover Tuesday evening slot is thriller False Trail (15). This is another taste of Scandinavian crime cinema, telling the tale of a police detective who returns to his rural home after many years tackling crime in the city. However, his new quiet life is placed on hold when a brutal murder is uncovered. The detective is keen to solve the murder but local cops have other plans. In the same light as Headhunters or the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, False Trail is a decently served piece of noir cinema adding an extra thrill into the Discover Tuesday slot.

There’s another chance this week as well to see John Lithgow’s performance in the National Theatre production of The Magistrate (12A) on Thursday evening. Arthur Wing Pinero’s uproarious Victorian farce sees Lithgow as a recently married magistrate about to make the problematic discovery that his new bride might have been lying about certain details while they were still courting.

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