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That this new film The Impossible leaves a nasty taste in my mouth?

(60 Posts)
CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 30-Dec-12 23:09:48

Ive just seen a trailer for this. Its about the 2004 tsunami.
About a blonde haired, white family, caught in the disaster, and their fight for survival.

I have then loked at the reviews. Here are a few snippets:
When not fully engrossed in our characters' plights and emotionally tied to their survival, we are thoroughly repulsed by the graphic scenes of bodily destruction that blood soak the screen. Director J.A. Bayona is no stranger to horrific make-up effects as he was the genius behind the camera for The Orphanage (2007) and he pulls no punches here. Some audience members were seen turning their heads unable to ingest the graphic nature of effects and few were even seen exiting while the scenes played out in long detail.

The downsides; there's something a little off-putting about choosing a white, privileged family as a focus, while at the same time showing almost exclusively other white people as suffering and afraid in a disaster that killed far more local people than tourists. The Thai's are certainly shown in a good light, kindly helping all these suffering whites, but even in the hospital, almost every face we see in a bed is a white one. That hint of odd racial insensitivity is also underlined by replacing the original family, who were Spanish and dark, and making them into a gorgeous blond English family, a telling choice in a 'true' story.

The film pretends to be about "universal goodwill", about how "tragedy brings people together". It's also relentlessly dehumanising. People do not matter unless they're white, the film filled with white victims and the white dispossessed. Local characters are either invisible or reduced to a couple rescue units at the bidding of white sufferers. Whilst many have complained that our foregrounded characters are white, that's not really the problem. The problem's that background characters are likewise. The fact that the vast majority of the dead, injured and displaced were Asian never registers. This has an interesting effect. In the way the film panders to white audiences whilst pretending to be about the universality of suffering, it's message becomes, unconsciously, that whites don't care about non-whites and target audiences identify only with their own. It's not economically feasible to cater to the Other. Of course it's fitting that a film about universal goodwill largely ignores the suffering of non-white characters. The real life event hinged on a similar social dismissal. A film about the plight of wealthy, vacationing Westerners which turns a blind eye to the deaths of thousands of locals perfectly sums up the lesson of the tsunami itself; they don't matter.

Birdsgottafly Sun 30-Dec-12 23:22:35

Every war and disaster is told from a western white perspective, so it isn't a surprise that this is, to.

From a money making POV i suppose that it is thought that the audience will be bigger portraying a white family than an asian one.

wongadotmom Sun 30-Dec-12 23:25:39


I was unfortunate enough to see the trailer for the movie in the cinema with DD (12) whilst we were watching Skyfall. There was no warning beforehand of the trailer's suitability to be viewed in a 12a movie.
And if there had been, I would still argue the suitability. I was distraught after seeing graphic images of the tsunami - which isn't just movie stuff, this actually happened, and not that long ago either - with people, including children, struggling in the water, fighting for theri lives, and, for many, drowning. It was horrific! I was really upset by the end of the trailer, as was DD, and I will never see the film.

(I realise this isn't really addressing your point, but just had to vent, I was apalled!)

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 30-Dec-12 23:28:49

Well it kind of is part of my point! I just dont feel that this needs to be turned into a movie. It was a huge national disaster. Not entertainment!

gordyslovesheep Sun 30-Dec-12 23:30:50

link to reviews

maybe you should see it and judge if those 'reviews' are true

gordyslovesheep Sun 30-Dec-12 23:32:29

oh and it was NOT a national disaster - more than one nation was effected

a western film using westerners as focus is not unusual - it allows the viewer to identify with the subject ...and hopefully that will lead to wider empathy

difficultpickle Sun 30-Dec-12 23:32:43

I won't be going to see it as I think the tv trailers and release date are incredibly crass and insensitive.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sun 30-Dec-12 23:32:57

I think it's just wrong to make entertainment (and money) out of a disaster like this. Titanic was bad enough nearly 100 years after the event, the tsunami is too recent and too raw. People are still grieving loved ones. It's just so wrong.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 30-Dec-12 23:34:29

I don't want to see it. Those reviews are just backing up my initial thoughts. This isnt made up escapism. This is real life. The idea of this film makes me feel sick.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 30-Dec-12 23:35:24

Sorry, national should say natural! blush

RedToothbrush Sun 30-Dec-12 23:37:29

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 30-Dec-12 23:28:49
Well it kind of is part of my point! I just dont feel that this needs to be turned into a movie. It was a huge national disaster. Not entertainment!

How many movies related to WWI and WWII have there been? Isn't the subject of a great many films based in someway on real life disaster? Or other things like murders? How many years need to pass before a disaster becomes acceptable as an entertainment subject? Is this related to how many people die or their nationality or something? I'm not sure.

Personally I think its good to remember certain events as we can learn important lessons from history, even if its in the form of entertainment, and even if its bias is distorted and doesn't reflect the whole story.

NaturalBaby Sun 30-Dec-12 23:37:32

I don't understand why anyone would want to go see this movie. It's amazing the whole family survived but surrounded by such devastation it's hardly the point.

gordyslovesheep Sun 30-Dec-12 23:37:58

ahhh got you grin

I take your point but you don't have to see it - just avoid it - I dislike torture porn/horror but they still make it and people still watch it

Greythorne Sun 30-Dec-12 23:39:34

Looks horrifying and frightening.
Who would want to go and see something which was probably the most horrendous life experience ever for those involved?
Strange and disturbing.

And that's without the "let's cast the main characters as blonde because white people are so much more tragic when they die" issue.

ratbagcatbag Sun 30-Dec-12 23:39:48

Agree with Bisjo and think the timing is incredibly insensitive. I remember watching the documentary on it and sobbing. Think it's in very poor taste.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 23:40:45

There was no warning beforehand of the trailer's suitability to be viewed in a 12a movie.

It is a 12a film.

Trills Sun 30-Dec-12 23:41:19

I thought the music was beautiful and evocative and very emotional and in genera very well done.

The film didn't look particularly interesting though.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 30-Dec-12 23:44:44

Personally I think its good to remember certain events as we can learn important lessons from history
What lesson can be learned from a film about a natural disaster?
I don't like war films either, but certain war films do help to remind people of the lessons to be learned from history.

LetsFaceThePresentsTheyrePants Sun 30-Dec-12 23:48:02

I love a disaster movie but I couldn't watch this.sad

ChasingAwhiterabbit Mon 31-Dec-12 00:25:58

wongadotmom 'Skyfall' is a 12a and 'The Impossible' is also a 12a. I'm sorry you were both upset but 12a film trailer being shown before a 12a film is not something you can complain about and you should have comprehended this might happen.

As for 'The Impossible' with everyone saying it is too soon. When is the exact amount of time that would make it ok? There are many films about the 9/11 tragedy, are they too soon?

'The Impossible' is based on the real life story of a Spanish family.

Yes, the white family is at the centre stage, however people are more interested in what is close to them. Remember the debate before over there being more publicity about the Newport shootings?

However I don’t think there is anything racist about wanting to tell it. People seem to be implying they don’t have the right to tell their story because they’re white.

Maybe I am not as race-sensitive.

Also Thai locals’ stories are also represented, for example, there’s a scene with actual survivors of the tsunami explaining what happened to them.

People here are analyzing only the trailer here, not the actual film. Go see it if it interests you, otherwise ignore it.

MichelleRooJnr Mon 31-Dec-12 00:38:46

My sister's friend was there and survived the tsunami.
I asked her how she feels about the movie and she says she's glad people are seeing just how terrible it was as she (who has never worked since, had a lot of therapy and is a different person) feels people look at her and wonder why she's making such a big deal out of it, like she lived so should be able to 'just move on'.
She reckons a lot of people who know people who were affected by it will re-evaluate their attitudes and realise what an unimaginable horror those people, including the survivors, experienced.
And in turn - it may make people who see it more empathetic to anyone who has experienced a trauma and is struggling to recover / 'move on'.
I know hers is just one survivor's opinion, but I see her point.

Startail Mon 31-Dec-12 00:54:29

Documentaries of disasters are one thing.

May be even fictionalised TV dramas, but a film you choose to go out, pay for and sit through eating pop corn and drinking Coke.

No that doesn't feel respectful.

Applefallsfarfromthetree Mon 31-Dec-12 00:57:06

So fictionalised TV dramas are ok because they are just on tv?

But if these dramas were shown on a big screen and people paid to see it then that makes it disrespectful?

Applefallsfarfromthetree Mon 31-Dec-12 01:08:15

And also a genuine question, do people who find this film offensive also find films like Schindler's List offensive too?

That was only around 67 years ago.

Startail Tue 01-Jan-13 11:35:24

The movie industries whole purpose is to make money.

Yes so are many TV channels, but somehow, putting a topic like this on the big screen feels wrong.

I associate the cinema with escapism both on screen and given red carpet premiers etc off screen too.

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