Normally my reviews are short, sweet and to the point. This review has taken me forever to write because I think there are some very good points to be made. First off, the movie trailer is spot on. There are no “˜hooks’ to dupe you into watching. It’s the true story of a family vacationing in Thailand for the holidays and the unthinkable happens. A tsunami hits and the resort is wiped out. This movie is not action packed by any means, but the intensity when the first wave hits is incredible. They did an amazing job depicting how horrifying this would have been. Being thrashed around like you are in a washing machine. Being hit by debris, being sucked under and having zero control over anything that is happening to you. The sheer desperation of the situation watching your family being swept away and there’s nothing you can do. I could probably write the entire review about these few minutes, but there is so much more to say.
When Maria (Naomi Watts) finally gets her head above water she sees her oldest son Lucas (Tom Holland). They manage to stay together and are taken to a hospital to treat her injuries. They have no idea what has happened to the rest of their family. The husband/father and two young sons/brothers. At this point the movie really focuses on Lucas (Holland). He does his best to help others find loved ones while looking after his mom. Before this movie I had no idea who Tom Holland was and let me just say he really stole the show. This kid has some natural talent and if Hollywood doesn’t take note they are all fools. I was so impressed with his performance that I forgot there were big name stars in the movie. Step aside Watts and McGregor, you just got upstaged by a newb!
The movie is split between the plight of the mother and oldest son and that of the younger boys and their father. The Director Juan Antonio Bayona kept it real and didn’t spend too much time on just one character. He kept it moving with some serious dramatic moments and a few creepy ones. Cut to the scene where Maria (Watts) is coughing up seaweed and crap from her lungs. It looked like something out of a horror movie. There were only two parts of the movie I really disliked. The first was when Maria was being carried away from what was left of the town they were staying in. She was sick from the water, bleeding and badly cut up from riding out the waves. They cut to a close up view of her eyes. They stayed there a little too long for my taste. It was just weird and seemed out of place. I actually remember getting annoyed. The second was the ending. Don’t read on if you’ve not seen the movie and plan to. It just seemed to end ubruptly. Hello, I’m with your insurance company, we are going to take good care of you”. Cut to the family getting into a swanky plane being taken home. To me this seemed as though, said insurance company, paid a lot of money to be mentioned in the film. If it really happened this way, then props to them for helping out a family in need, but um…I’d like to know if this is really how it all ended. And why were they the only ones on the swanky plane? They could have taken more people on that big plane. Eh, I dunno. Just didn’t like them leaving it that way. They also didn’t do the typical “˜where are they now’ segment. I was so looking forward to that. Guess I will be doing a little research to answer these questions for myself.
In the end, this is not a movie for the faint of heart. It could leave you weeping in the aisle so bring a tissue. The tsunami really happened, people really lost their lives and I really can’t imagine going through something like this without being forever changed. I give this movie 0 out of 5 Jell-O shots. I really enjoyed it.