Having enjoyed a great holiday, we caught up with a film we had wanted to see but missed during its cinema run. The film was The 33 based on the real life disaster, which saw 33 miners in Chile, trapped underground for 69 days when the mine they were working in collapsed.
The film hits hard with an opening statistics that many miners lose their life due to the nature of the work, before swiftly introducing us to the miners, pointing out those that will have significant parts in the story, who we may recall from the events when they happened in the events of 2010.
Amongst these miners is the one the world press all dubbed Super Mario (played by Antonio Banderas) , for his presence as the face of the group.
Also amongst the miners are Dario (Juan Pablo Raba) who has an estranged relationship with his sister, Maria (Juliette Binoche) yet she will be significant in leading his and the others rescue attempt.
Others include a soon to be father Alex (Mario Casas); Yonni (Oscar Nunez) as a miner seeing 2 different women; An Elvis impersonator (Jacob Vargas) and Luis, the foreman (Lou Diamond Phillips).
We see Luis deal with concerns of the mine from its owners, and how they are more concerned with the miners increasing their daily output of the mined gold and copper.
As the miners go down, the film then shows us the events that happened, from the mine’s collapse to the response of the Chile president (Bob Gunton), the hands-on approach of the minister of mining, Laurence, played by Rodrigo Santoro and the emotions of the family and friends of the miners, desperate for news of their loved ones.
We see how Mario is appointed leader in the mine, how the miners have to deal with no escape ladders, no wired up communications and limited food, from tuna to cookies, which have to be rationed and of course with no air, we see how the group have to pull together, if they have any chance to survive.
We know from the events, that even though there is an initial consideration that the miners can not be saved, an incredible operation was put in place to do so, mainly due to the pressure put on Laurence by Maria.
We see crane specialists come in including Gabriel Byrne as Andre, the chief engineer who masterminded the operation and James Brolin as Jeff, who supervised the drilling.
The story is truly fantastic, how these miners defied the odds, the Chilean government who initially had accepted that the miners would be lost but did all they could to get them released, the families who never get up hope.
We see in the film how the story caught the world’s attention, as we all stayed intrigued to the news coverage of the rescue operation but it is this, that in our opinion, is the film’s downfall.
Not only are the events still quite recent, we know (Spoilers Ahead if not aware of the story) that all the 33 were rescued, so we never really have any peril in the film, we know that despite the rationing of food and recycling of water they didn’t starve or die of thirst, we know the mine did not collapse so this can at sometimes feel like a TV drama of the week.
All the cast, especially Banderas; Binoche; Byrne and Santoro put in great performances, and the film is also aided by a great score, which was sadly to be one of the last from composer James Horner to lift it above a TV drama.
The film is a great reminder of the truly uplifting story and in respect of the miners, we learn the benefits of working as a team in a crisis and from above ground we learn never to give up, but it’s just a shame the story makes a sadly average film.
The film, however, does end on a high as we see the real 33 miners who have remained a strong community.
You can watch the trailer at the movies website, which also has lots of information on the true events here.
You can find the film at Amazon here:
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