The Curt Critic featured in the Wisconsin State Journal

The Curt Critic in the news: This recent Wisconsin State Journal article is validation that Liz Zélandais' quest to see all 53 Oscar-nominated films for 2013 is a fascinating enterprise worthy of public interest, rather than merely nuts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Impossible - 2013 Oscar Nominee for Best Actress

"Am I dead?"

The joy of the Bennett family's 2004 Christmas vacation at a Thailand beach-side resort abruptly ends with the deadly onslaught of a tsunami. Among the thousands of dead and injured, every moment becomes a struggle to survive and a quest to find the fate of other family members.

The opening of this flick is just flat-out annoying. Parents and kids on the plane. Inane conversation. Close-in shots to show Henry's and Maria's wedding rings. Okay, I get it. They're married—not just shacked up with three kids. The rakish shots of Christmas morning celebrations made to look like home videos are almost dizzying. Got it. Puh-leeeeze. Can we get to the real movie? When they finally do, it is compelling.

On the flip side of my disbelief that John Hawkes did not get a Best Actor nod for The Sessions, I'm surprised that Naomi Watts did receive a Best Actress nomination for her role as Maria. Her performance is fine, but—other than holding her breath, treading water, and appearing to be in pain—nothing extraordinary.

Contrast that to the make-up artists for this film who were totally screwed. The catastrophic injuries they have realistically and artfully created here should put them at the top of the heap with, not just a nomination for Best Make-up and Hairstyling, but a win. No. Nothin'. Instead, the folks who barely concealed the seams on Anthony Hopkins's fake fat face in Hitchcock are on the roster. Sheesh.

The Impossible is based on the true story of the Belon-Alvarez family, who served as consultants during filming. Director Juan Antonio Bayona also recruited other survivors of the December 2004 tsunami as extras. Considering the disaster's ultimate death toll of over 230,000, this small minority of those who survived the main impact area are a reflection of the conflicting emotions elicited by the movie: great jubilation for those who survived and reunited with loved ones, and the recognition that they were the lucky few.

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