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Local critics sharply divided on 'The Impossible'

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Local critics are in completely opposite corners about the true-life tsunami drama "The Impossible," one of the major new releases in theaters this week.

In his four-star review, Colin Covert of the Star Tribune calls the film -- about a real-life family separated during the 2004 Southeast Asia Tsunami -- "an astonishing, irresistibly gripping disaster drama that happens to be true."

Covert says the film -- starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor -- has "intense emotion and unblinking intimacy" and notes how the "stunning, surreally realistic sequence devastates the theater."

I praised the film as "a harrowing drama" and "very emotional" in my KARE-TV review. See video of the review below.

Chris Hewitt in his Pioneer Press review, on the other hand, was anything but stunned. In his zero-star review, Hewitt, says the film is "appalling."

He notes how the film is "beautifully cast," but also points out how the film chronicles the story of a British family, but is based on the story of a Spanish family.

"The filmmakers apparently thought no Spanish actors were sufficiently empathetic," writes Hewitt, and rips the film for a "wrongheaded and single-minded focus on this privileged white family."

WCCO.com's Eric Henderson also takes issue with the ethnic swap of families in his review, but concedes that the tsunami depiction is "raw and powerful enough even outside of the context" of the family's plight that it "transmutes itself upon the other millions of lives either ended or irrevocably affected by a singularly traumatic event."

See the trailer for "The Impossible" below.

Bring Me The News news curator Tim Lammers is also a nationally-syndicated movie journalist whose work appears on more than 50 TV affiliate websites in the U.S. Tim has interviewed more than 1,000 major actors and filmmakers throughout his career, and locally, he reviews films on "KARE 11 Today" and WCCO Radio. Tim's work is also featured on his website, StrictlyCinema.com.

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