Friday, February 1, 2013


Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor,
Tom Holland, Geraldine Chaplin

"Nothing is more powerful 
than the human spirit"

Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex

This film is based on a true story about one of the families that survived the disastrous tsunami which occurred in 2004.  It was adapted into film from the book written by Maria Belon, a Spanish tourist vacationing in Thailand along with her family on that fateful day, December 26, 2004.

For some reason, the nationality of the family was changed into British and the lead roles were portrayed by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor.   While the family was relaxing by the swimming pool area, a tsunami struck the coastline of Thailand.  It was disturbing to watch the realistically shot scenes of the huge waves crashing into the resort.   For several minutes, your eyes are glued to the screen as you watch Naomi Watts being tossed around like a log in the debris filled ocean.

The destruction is vividly portrayed. The devastation is raw and piercing. For a few moments, I actually held my breath as I felt I was drowning just from watching the scenes unfold on screen.  Wide aerial as well as blurry underwater shots of the catastrophe hold you captive.

After the initial shock wears off, you sort of rejoice that Maria and her eldest son Lucas are miraculously reunited amidst the devastation.  The pace slows after the initial rush, once they are rescued by villagers and sent to a refugee hospital.  The rest of the movie focuses on their efforts to survive (Maria lying in a hospital bed waiting her turn on the surgery table)  while Lucas tries desperately to find his father and brothers.

The last part of the film drags on as the director desperately stretches every minute to add some drama.  The predictable outcome is best described by the title. It is quite impossible that family members can find each other owning to the huge logistical problems involved after such a devastatingly wide spread disaster occurs. But true enough, all the members of the Belon family survived and live on to retell their story through a well executed Hallmark type film. 

The acting is good with Naomi Watts even getting a best actress nomination in the Oscars but I'd say the horrifying tsunami sequence is for most part the saving grace of the film.

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