J.A. Bayona directs Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor and Tom Holland in this disaster movie following a real life family’s trauma and separation during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Bayona drowns us in the horror of the tidal wave in the first act. An exhaustingly realistic set piece, a bravura 10 minutes of cinema. The remaining film swings from gut wrenching manipulation to mawkish hope. You really feel your emotions being worked over by the unlikely twists and tragic red herrings. For a long old time it feels like a movie about a teenage boy trying to avoid ogling his dying mum’s naked flesh – unfortunate. Watts, McGregor and Holland all put in peerless work. It is a well acted tear jerker, that works best in its dynamic rollercoaster moments.