The 33 Movie Review
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In 2010, a total of 33 miners were trapped in the bowels of a collapsed copper and gold mine after a cave-in left them for dead. The incredible true story that spanned over a whopping 69 days of confinement is being retold in the Patricia Riggen directed drama, The 33. Usually these types of stories aren’t made into feature movies for quite a few years after the events in question. This particular accident occurred just five short years ago and my people can still recall aspects of the story. Even so, that doesn’t make The 33 any less captivating to watch as viewers witness what unfolded during those fateful days.
August 5, 2010 started off just like any other day in a small Chilean town. Workers saying goodbye to their friends and families as they head out to another day of working in a local mine. Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips) who is in charge of the miners’ well-being expresses concerns to his supervisor over signs of potential structural fatigue that could result in catastrophic damage. Of course though, money overrules erring on the side of caution and he is instructed to continue working as he normally would. The team of miners descend only to become trapped as the mine begins to collapse. The group of 33 men are forced deeper into the cave towards a refuge that will hopefully protect these unfortunate souls as they await a rescue attempt. Since the company that is in charge of the mining operation, San Esteban Primera Mining Company, appeared to not take voiced concerns seriously in the past, it should come as no surprise that the safe refuge area was not adequately stocked with the items that it should have been. The 33 men trapped inside are in a fight for their lives while being cut off from the outside world and have very little in way of supplies. Time is not on their side.
Antonio Banderas plays the gregarious Mario, who becomes the reluctant outspoken leader of The 33. The company in charge of the mining operation had hoped to contain the news of the event but word quickly spread like wildfire. Families began showing up and demanding answers. Rodrigo Santoro is the idealistic bureaucrat, Laurence Golborne who steps in to help facilitate a rescue attempt to free the trapped miners while also dealing with the public outcry. Maria Segovia (Juliette Binoche) acts as the main voice of the concerned families as she butts heads with Laurence. Cote de Pablo portrays Jessica, an expectant mother who desperately wants her husband rescued. There are many areas focused on throughout the movie, each playing a pivotal role in the emotional outcries. Dealing with what’s going on inside the cave as well as what’s transpiring on the surface gives a broad look at all of the moving parts.
The trap that The 33 didn’t fall into was making the story a three hour “hey consider us for an Oscar” movie. Even at 127 minutes it seemed as though editors were conscious in not dragging the story out too much. With anything based on true stories the odds are that it’s going to get a little bogged down in areas and this was no exception. Thankfully those moments were spread out. The bigger problem here was with some of the acting, in particular with the authenticity of the actors playing certain roles. Gabriel Byrne (born in Dublin, Ireland) portraying Chilean engineer, Andre Sougarret was a big stretch at times because his accent would come and go in between sentences and that was very distracting. In one instance he would pronounce “you” as “ju” while in the next sentence he would pronounce it as “you” without an accent. How does this happen?! The same goes for Chilean president Sebastián Piñera played by Bob Gunton who was born and raised in California. I’m open for diversity in roles however at least make your characters as believable and authentic as possible, especially when dealing with a true story. These hirings might be seen as a slap to the face to those particular individuals and their families.
Overall though, The 33 was a solid biopic that serves as a reminder of what people go through in order to provide for their families. Without giving anything away to those not familiar with the actual outcome of this story, I will say that there are many life lessons to be taken away from seeing such a movie. Regardless of the outcome, there is a good feeling to be had by witnessing people come together in order to support one another in terrible times of need. This is a story of physical, mental and spiritual perseverance that can be seen by all. Check out The 33 in theaters now.