Maria and Henry are a happily married couple with three sons. For winter vacation, they head to Thailand to escape the cold weather and spend a few days in tropical paradise. One morning while the family relaxes in front of the pool after their Christmas festivities, a massive tsunami hits Thailand, changing their lives forever. Juan Antonio Bayona's The Impossible centers around the tragic tsunami of 2005, looking at one family's struggle to survive. The sequence where the Tsunami hits is really well done, with great use of sound design and visuals to capture the horrific power of a tsunami. What ensues afterwards is a two hour melodrama in which the film pulls out all the stops in an attempt to make the viewer emotionally affected, often relying on cheap manipulation tactics to get a rise outta the audience. In a way, The Impossible is the equivalent of a high-brow Saw movie, in that it assaults the viewer with horrific imagery to simply get a rise out of the viewer. This is a socially irresponsible film which only shows the suffering of the first world vacationers, never even touching on or showing how the natives were affected by this horrific event. These people are simply their to help the foreigners, as if to them this is just another day in their third world lives. Just because this film wants to show a smaller scale story of a singular family doesn't mean the film can't still at least touch on the natives. To be fair to Juan Antonio Bayona, the direction is actually quite strong, using an assortment of techniques to put the viewer into this horrific experience but the real problem lies with this cookie cutter, melodrama that the film implores. The Impossible is a film that insults its audiences intelligence, yet sadly a lot of people won't even notice.
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