In the hours after the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, mother Yuan Ni (Fan Xu) is forced to make a horrific choice between saving either her son (Jiajun Zhang) or daughter (Zi-feng Zhang) from the rubble of their former home. With both children trapped under opposite ends of the same slab of concrete, the rescuers can only get one out alive. After making the hardest choice imaginable, Yuan and her badly injured son leave the city with the rescuers returning three years later to restart their lives. What neither of them know however is that the presumed dead daughter survived and was adopted by two of the soldiers who helped with the rescue effort.
I wasn’t aware of this film until a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about The Impossible at work and The Wizard mentioned to me that the plot sounded remarkably similar to a Chinese film he owned. He lent me the movie and while the two films do share certain thematic similarities, they are very different and excel in different areas. Whereas for me The Impossible’s strongest moments came in the moments of disaster, Aftershock isn’t so strong in those moments but the following hour and a half is very good.