20. Disaster - The Impossible
There have been many 'fun' disaster flicks dished out this century, with the likes of 2012 and San Andreas inviting us to turn our brains off and enjoy the spectacular destruction of various iconic landmarks. But the gold medal here goes to this hauntingly realistic portrayal of the harrowing but miraculous tale of survival amongst the Boxing Day Tsunami, as told in The Impossible.
The film is told through the eyes of a British family holidaying in Phuket, Thailand, when the waves came crashing in and sweep two members of the family away. Naomi Watts and a young Tom Holland are both brilliant here, making the physical and emotional trauma that their characters endure all the more believable.
While there were some who criticised the movie for 'whitewashing', this is both unfair and inaccurate. Scenes in which Watts' character Maria is taken care of by Thai locals display how this tourist's safety and wellbeing were placed above their own. These incredible examples of the best of human nature did actually occur to the family the movie was based on and the film's emphasis of this is crucial.
The special effects are first rate for a relatively low budget film and thankfully the film avoids falling to cliche. The climax is effectively moving without being celebratory, the beautiful moment when the family is reunited contrasting with the sights of full bodybags and unread messages that remind us of the staggering human cost of the tragedy.