Director: Dustin Hoffman // Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connelly, Pauline Collins // Plot: Ageing opera singer Reginald Paget (Courtenay) finds the splendour of Beecham House, a home for retired musicians, to be compromised when his prickly ex-wife Jean (Smith) comes to stay. As the houses financial future becomes unclear, Jean does all she can to avoid reuniting with her former quartet members Sissy (Collins), Wilf (Connelly) and, of course, her ex-husband Reggie.
Review: Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut is a sporadically touching adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s 1998 play of the same name. Despite being very much geared towards to a particular demographic, this viewer can attest that he, at the tender age of 21, found much to enjoy in Quartet, although a frustrating lack of focus makes it hard to recommend to audiences at large.
Director: Juan Antonio Bayora // Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor // Plot: The true story of how one family – mother Maria (Naomi Watts), father Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their sons Lucas (Tom Holland), Thomas (Samuel Joslin) and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast) – survived the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 during their Christmas break to the region.
Review: With the carefully endorsed authenticity of this story still fresh in our minds thanks to an opening placard, a deep, low-end rumbling intensifies to the point of discomfort. It’s an unnerving moment, no doubt, but for this viewer, it made for a very exciting opening. This is a sound synonymous with dread and expectation. As anyone who has sat through a Paranormal Activity film will tell you; this is the sound of something actually happening.
It is also the first of many confrontations with The Impossible’s incredible sound design. Ominous tones are laced throughout, with a clear emphasis on every crunch and shock absorbed by the bodies of our ravaged protagonists. It is at times overwhelming in its desolation, so much so that when the inevitably shimmering piano does make an appearance, it is with heartfelt relief rather than a rolling of the eyes.