This is one of those sleeper movies, not an awful lot of people will get to see, due to its limited release but it's absolutely one that deserves to be seen by everyone.

It's not only a great and effective drama, that is hard not to feel involved with but its also a movie that handles its concept in a very respectful way. The movie revolves around the 2004 tsunami and what I mean by saying its respectful is that it's not bringing anything in an entertaining or dramatically forced way.

It's a very human drama, strengthened by the fact it mainly focuses on just one family. They first struggle for survival but the movie soon after that starts to turn into one in which the family members, who end up being partly divided by the catastrophe, try to find each other in the following chaos and panic. It probably still sounds like a somewhat sappy, based on a true story, made for TV, overly dramatic, type of movie to some but believe me; this movie is a very humble and respectful one, that keeps things 'small' and realistic, at all times.

Because it tells everything from the family's viewpoint, you start to feel involved real easily and everything hits you even harder. The chaos, the wounded people, the death and of course the actual tsunami itself. It throws you in the middle of all of it and often doesn't hold back, making the movie a very involving and effective one.

The moment the tsunami hits is quite intense. it's done in an incredibly realistic way and I actually have no idea how they achieved all of it, since everything appears to have been done with practical effects, as opposed to CG effects. Guess miniatures is the answer but that still doesn't explain how they achieved some complicated looking shots, involving the movie its characters. It's always a good and real positive thing of course when a movie can surprise baffle you like that and it's all the more an accomplishment when considering this movie didn't had the highest of budgets and wasn't made by the crème de la crème of Hollywood. It's actually a Spanish production, also based on the true story of a Spanish family but portrayed by English speaking actors, no doubt to make this movie more available and accessible, worldwide.

And who could also complain about it when the likes of Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor involved. Both are truly great, as is the young Tom Holland, who actually at times has to carry the movie on his own.

That's what I also liked about the movie; it didn't just picked one main character but instead focused on about 3 equally, making some of the dynamics and story developments all the more interesting and effective. Each of them experience things differently, from different sides, facing different obstacles and difficulties, which is also helping to keep the movie going and interesting. There is never really a slow moment in it, unless the movie deliberately decides to have to.

It feels to me that everyone involved was very well aware of what type of project they were involved with and all had their hearts and minds in the right place for it. It makes this movie feel like a very respectful one toward its subject and the victims and their families and becomes a very effective and involving one through its approach as well.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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