Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, and Martin Sheen star in this ensemble drama detailing the daring real-life rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in the San Jose Mine for 69 days in 2010. Patricia Riggen directs from a script by Jose Rivera and Mikko Alanne.~Jason Buchanan
The 33: The World was Watching: see why this true story captivated viewers with news footage from around the world, as well as interviews, B-roll and film footage
This is one of the greatest stories of survival, tenacity, heroism, and solidarity ever put on the Silver Screen. What makes it even more astounding is that it really happened. The whole world watched as 33 Chilean miners dealt with tragedy, fear, isolation, hunger, despair, and ultimately, hope.
This is a story of real heroism in the face of the outmost dire circumstances. These men were able to stick together and tell a tale of triumph and human resilience rarely seen in human history.
From several points of view, the story quickly unravels and shows us the pain, struggle, and despair entire families, communities, and the whole Chilean nation went through during the agonizing 69 days the men were trapped 2,300 feet below ground between August and October of 2010.
An international cast lead by Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche bring the story to life as they effectively managed to portray ordinary people achieving the impossible; to the get the whole world to care and feel for these 33 men; to care enough to mobilize the entire world and have billions rally around television screens and billboards hoping for the best and fearing for the worst at the same time. They would have died with the whole world watching. I can only imagine what that would have done to the collective hope and faith of billions.
The 33 is definitively a film worth watching as it reminds us that though different, our differences are only skin deep, and that humanity is not lost in this seemingly growing cynical world. We learn from it that our humanity will prevails as long as we care, even if is just a a little bit.
An adaptation of the incredible ordeal suffered by the Chilean miners in 2010 was so desired by Hollywood that a film was in the works before they were even out of the ground. It adds a slightly oily touch to Patricia Riggen's inspiring if broadly predictable human drama, The 33, a film which is bolstered by the direction of Patricia Riggen, whose Under the Same Moon proved she knows how to reach audience's hearts.
Based on Hector Tobar's book, Deep Down Dark, what audiences are treated to is a two-hour look at the 69 terrible days those mine workers endured after the San Jose Mine collapsed with them in it. Their story is one that made Chile more news-worthy than it's been in years, but also captured the attention of the entire world. Riggen's biggest hurdle isn't overcoming that everyone already knows how the story ends; it's overcoming a largely homogenized screenplay that rarely endeavors to go beyond being just another survival drama with all the familiar Hollywood checkpoints.
As such, this probably isn't the most accurate retelling of events, but the one that could get made with just the right number of recognizable stars, wherever they may be from. Antonio Banderas plays "Super" Mario Sepulveda, who became an international superstar as the public face of the trapped miners. He's a bold, boisterous guy and a natural leader, while Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips) is a mine supervisor but too passive to take charge. It's Lucho who leads the men into that death trap after voicing concerns with upper management about the mine's safety, but of course he's ignored because the owner doesn't want to spend the money. Most of the men are given fleeting glimpses of personality; one is an Elvis enthusiast, one has a baby on the way and has dreams of a better life, one has a mistress, and still another is due to retire in a few days. Want to know a good way to spoil a retirement party? Getting trapped 2,000 feet underground.
There's both too much and too little ground for Riggen and the screenwriters to cover. What's going on below ground mostly amounts to the men trying to ration what little food they have, until personality conflicts inevitably begin to flare up. Riggen finds moments of levity in their tragedy, especially in one great scene in which their culinary fantasies are dreamily visualized. As the men fight to survive, the more interesting tale is being spun up above as the women in their lives struggle to keep the faith. Setting aside her French accent and trying on a Chilean one is Juliette Binoche as Maria, an eccentric who sells empanadas on the street and battles with the government (led by Rodrigo Santoro as the Minister of Mining) to get the proper drilling tools to rescue her trapped brother. Kate Del Castillo, Cote de Pablo, and a number of other Hispanic actresses bring soulfulness to what are largely under-written characters. Rather than being a story about the pain they are going through as their loved ones are buried underground; it's about the bonds these women form to help bolster one another through this nightmare.
While Binoche handles herself pretty well, some of the other casting choices are just plain weird and comically distracting. Bob Gunton couldn't be less Chilean if he tried, so seeing him as President Pinera is flat-out absurd. A real momentum killer is a protracted but important subplot involving drill bits. In fact, drill bits and finding the right drill bits is a pretty big chunk of the film, which is about as exciting as it sounds. Those lulls aside, Riggen achieves everything she intends to on an emotional level. There won't be a dry eye in the house by the time it's done, and she consistently finds way to inspirit the audience. It's a terrific story, one that epitomizes the best in all of us. What The 33 isn't is especially memorable. It does what it sets out to do, which is turn a horrible tragedy into feel-good fodder.
Surprisingly good for a movie you already know is going to end well. The movie is of course about the 33 miners trapped over a 1000 feet underground in Chile with 3 days of food and water who managed to last over 2 weeks, long enough for rescuers to drive a hole to drop supplies. And then they had to wait another month to get a shaft down big enough to extract them. a solid cast makes this work, helping us feel what both the miners and their families and friends outside were going through. Saying Antonio Banderas does a fine job should come as no surprise, but Lou Diamond Phillips turns in one of if not the best performance of his career. All in all, well worth watching.
I would recommend this to a friend
Rated 5 out of 5 stars
Cliched, but enjoyable
I really did like this film. Critically panned, largely related to its cliched story and characters, one has to remember that while watching the film the outcome is ultimately known, at the time of the events, the trapped miners' odds of survival were pretty abysmal. One can only imagine the stress.
I particularly enjoyed the sound design of the movie. While the blu-ray audio is only DTS-HD 5.1 (no DTS-X or Atmos), the claustrophobia of the collapsed tunnel really comes through. Also, music was great (one of the great James Horner's lasts before his untimely death).
33 is a true story about the miners who were trapped for more than two months in a mine in Chile when a large stone twice the size of the Empire State building slipped down and blocked off the only entrance.
***SPOILER ALERT (if you missed this in the news and don't already know how it ended in real life) ***It was really interesting to see some of the things that you didn't hear about on the news and it really makes you wonder if the press hadn't been covering it, if they would have done nothing and just let them die in there!
It's honestly sad that in this day and age there are still places in the world where mining not only exists, but does so in such squalid conditions. this movie is a reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a society where we don't face the risk of death every day like those portrayed in 33 do.