Monday, May 20, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: The Impossible

2012, Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) -- download

So, here we have it, the possible third movie where we read how I am affected by the onscreen deaths or tragic circumstances. I mourned the deaths of nameless security agents, felled by terrorist bullets (if I do not mourn them, who will) and I suffered a desire to look away from the tragic lives beyond the pines. So here, amidst the South Pacific tsunami where so many died, will I mourn?  Surprisingly no. This movie is not about the death, but about the seemingly impossible act of being swept up in this tragedy, separated and yet reunited.  If you think that is a spoiler, then you didn't see the title of the movie, the impossible act of being reunited against all odds. And from a true story.

I knew this was a surprising movie done by a director I felt some respect for. But I could not remember who, and I blinked during the spanish credits of my download, so I missed it until I just read here in IMDB. Bayona did one of my favourite movies from our Halloween run, The Orphanage, a tragically beautiful ghost story. I guess this must be his hollywood-gives-you-a-test-script movie but no it isn't.  This is a Spanish production with a Spanish screenwriters. The in-English choice was obviously an economics and movie making political choice, but the movie stays distinctly Spanish in style, if such exists. So, the original Spanish family are replaced by an English family to make it more palatable to the world wide audience. At least they are not American.

This is a beautiful movie, if there truly can be beauty in destruction. The horrendous devastation caused by the tsunami is recreated in incredible detail, reminding me more of the photography of Japan than anything I saw of the South Pacific. It is not a movie about the death toll, artfully hiding all the bodies in the swampy water, side stepping the corpses wrapped in plastic sheeting. It is about the act of a family seeking, and finding, each other. It is also not about the plight of the Thai people, staying rigidly focused on these westerners and their ordeal. Is that a fault or a perspective? I would love to see a movie from the point of view of the Thai villagers who sacrificed so much to help the tourists, but that is not this movie.