'Impossible' impact: Tsunami film an Oscar contender

The tsunami that devastated the Pacific Basin in the winter of 2004 remains one of the worst natural disasters in history, and although I assumed its climax as shown in Clint Eastwood's film Hereafter (2010) would never be surpassed, that was before I'd seen The Impossible. Here is a searing film of human tragedy.    

My wife and I were in London in 2004 when the disaster struck, and later we sat mesmerized in Biarritz, watching the news on TV. Again and again, the towering wall of water looming from the sea, tossing trucks, buses and its helpless victims aside. Surely this was a blow from hell. Those in Eastwood's film beheld it from afar on home video. In Juan Antonio Bayona's film, they seem lost in it, engulfed by it, damned by it.    

All is quiet at a peaceful resort beach in Thailand. Seconds later, victims are swept up like matchsticks. The film is dominated by human figures – a young British couple, Maria and Henry Bennet (Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor), and their three young sons, Lucas, Simon and Thomas (Tom Holland, Oaklee Pendergast and Samuel Joslin). All five fear they will never see their loved ones again. Full review.

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