DRAMA; 1hr 47min
STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts
Hell on Earth: Holland and Watts
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami left some 280,000 dead. Focusing on a fictional family, the Bennetts, who are based on the actual Alvarez-Belón family, director Juan Antonia Bayona’s all-out re-creation begins with the arrival at a Thailand resort of Maria and Henry (Watts and McGregor) and their three sons (Tom Holland, Oaklee Pendergast and Samuel Joslin). Anticipating the December 26 wave sharpens the unease: when it hits, the impact hurls you into a brilliantly engineered cataclysm. The aftermath is the end of the world. Separated by a maelstrom of water, the Bennetts must rely on the goodwill and generosity of strangers and, crucially, on their refusal to give up on each other.
Disaster is anarchy, and from anarchy springs courage and resolve. The Alvarez-Belóns were an “ordinary” family who in an instant became something else. Bayona and his steadfast cast have done an exhaustive and urgent job of honouring not only those five people but the thousands of others whose centre of gravity was horrifically ripped away.