That is directed at the Academy. No, I’m not here to say that ‘The Impossible’ is the best film of 2012, but I’m here to question why on Earth it didn’t rack up a hundred Oscar nominations last year. I mean, this film was TAILOR MADE FOR OSCARS! Yes, it seems that the Academy has been purposefully steering away from films that are made in the typical Oscar vein as of recently, unless your film’s name is ‘Lincoln’ and you wind up nominated for ten Oscars too many (and then get snubbed for the most obvious one, Makeup). Still, having finally seen the film I have to say that it is a technical marvel and it really should have been recognized in more than one category.
So, this starts a special week of ‘The Impossible’ inspired posts this week. Yes, I’ll be posting more than just those posts, but I have three specific posts inspired by the film that will be coming this week (this is one of them) and possibly more so keep watch.
Oh, and I loved this movie, so to all the haters:
Today I thought I’d break down the film category by category. It felt appropriate that way, considering that this film really should be appreciated for so much more than just Watts’ performance (and I personally think she was exceptional). Maybe we should start there. I mean, the internet kind of beats down on this nomination because Watts lays down a lot. Yes, she cries and screams and moans and lays there, but she does so remarkably well. I never once doubted her pain and struggle, both physically and emotionally. She nailed every ounce of passion and determination, and her smaller more tender scenes are so beautifully toned. I mean, how can you not wretch with internal pain when she whispers “take care of my babies”?
But she wasn’t the only performance worth noting. The entire cast was spot on, from Ewan McGregor’s soulful take on Henry’s tireless resolve to find his family to young Tom Holland’s fantastic portrayal of a young man trying to keep his mother’s spirit alive despite her waning health. Holland in particular carries this film to new heights. He anchors the more schmaltzy scenes and manages to breathe naturalness into them. He takes away that feeling of manipulation despite the fact that it is a very heavily manipulative film.
And speaking of manipulation, there was a lot of flak given to the script over changing the skin complexion of the family, but seriously:
Let’s look at the cinematography. This is honestly one of the most beautifully shot films of 2012, certainly more impressive than the digitally captured Oscar winner (I won’t bitch about that anymore, I promise). The way that each detail is perfectly captured in the right light, it’s a marvelous thing to watch. The underwater moments are devastatingly grimy, and the sun soaked atmosphere surrounding the wreckage and the cluttered hospitals are a perfectly balanced mix of rawness and polish.
And let’s not forget about that musical score. The best thing about musical incorporates in a film are that they can draw out an emotional response. Whether it scare, entice, titillate, dramatize or devastate, music has the ability to transport us somewhere, and when accompanied by the right visual it can complete a scene and drive home a deeper impact. The score created by Fernando Velazquez marvelously captures not only the heartbreak of desperation and the stunning swells of emotional uplift, but it cleverly trickles in an almost ‘Jaws’ like aura of fear with regard to the water, even early on in the film. It is a very complex score despite the simplicity, and it is possibly the most effective use of music I’ve seen in a film this year.
And what about the makeup? I mean, how in the hell did this miss out on a nomination? Yes, there was that whole “what about ‘Lincoln’?” outrage when it was snubbed the Makeup nomination, but ‘The Impossible’ is even more deserving. What they did with Watts’ leg alone was worth the nomination, but it’s more than that. Everything about this film’s makeup was so natural and so believable. It would have been so easy to go in a direction that was tacky or overdone, but instead the film brilliantly colors in every bruise and exposes every bone and pales out Watts’ face to the point where she looks like a zombie.
But possibly the biggest Oscar snub was for the Visual Effects. It didn’t even make the longlist, which was bizarre and ridiculous at the same time. I’m sorry, but the tsunami sequence was better than anything in ‘The Avengers’, and I thought the visual effects in that film were top notch. The perfect accompaniment to those visuals was the rich soundscape that filtered into each scene. It just milked every moment and popped in your eardrum from the first moment through to the last.
Listen, the complaints that came over this film have a certain leg to stand on, but not a very strong one. What director Bayona and screenwriter Sanchez were able to accomplish here was beautifully grounded and heartbreakingly sincere. Watching one family’s desperate attempt to reunite, to survive, to make it through has the power to lift the spirits and give us hope in the power of the human spirit.
At the end of the day, there is only one thing left to say: