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Neil Fox on film: The Impossible, Quartet

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The Impossible

Is it too soon for films about the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami?

In my opinion it’s never too soon to make a film that tries to make sense and come to terms with true-life disasters of any magnitude, providing there’s no sense of arrogance regarding the ‘truth’ or ‘completeness’ of representation.

This film is mostly sensitive and searching and offers a good human drama based on a real life tragedy. It serves as a tale of family caught up in a situation and culture that is challengingly unfamiliar.

Naomi Watts and Ewan MacGregor are the parents trying to keep their family safe.

There is always trouble when an event is westernised, but there is also the argument that sometimes the best way to reach the widest audience is to ensure as much empathy as possible through representation and this drama is mostly sensitive to the culture of those whose home lives were affected even if it tells the story through Western eyes.

The main problem as a result is too little edge and drama within the relationship, seemingly out of respect. It’s a thin, complicated line to tread.

Quartet

This nice film about the annual Verdi concert at a home for retired opera singers would probably have gone straight to DVD were it not legendary actor Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut.

He’s waited long enough to move behind the camera and it’s as easy going and edge-less as his recent dramatic offerings – certainly a long way from the likes of Midnight Cowboy and Papillon.

The cast is superb and illustrious and it’s an entertaining enough tale of long held rivalry and a refusal to let go of the past and talent.

Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Pauline Collins are all involved, and it’s not surprising really. No one is going to say no to Dustin, regardless of how maudlin and saccharine the script.

 

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