– only I couldn’t as we were in the cinema.
We have all seen the phone camera recordings a dozen times: the 2004 tsunami crashing through the trees and obliterating the peaceful poolside morning. This familiarity is given a tweak by showing the wave without warning, and from a much lower and nearer viewpoint than was (obviously) possible for the original footage. That, and the underwater scenes which follow, in which human bodies, cars and debris churn as in a giant washing machine, were gruesomely convincing.
Other parts of The Impossible felt more exploitative, manipulative, more sanitized even (in spite of the smashed-up scene and extras). And of course this family’s ordeal has an impossible ending – even if it really happened. The film was probably made as authentic as audiences would find acceptable; but I do feel a squeamish unease, wondering if it should have been made at all.