'The 33' - Movie Review

'The 33'
U/A; Biography, Drama
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kate del Castillo, Gabriel Byrne, Cote de Pablo, James Brolin, Naomi Scott, Oscar Nuñez, Jorge Diaz,Jacob Vargas, Bob Gunton
Director: Patricia Riggen
Rating: Two and a half stars

A true story of mountain shattering dimensions, this disaster movie that hopes to exemplify survival-against-all-odds, is not as much a triumph as it was a real life event that captured the heart and minds of millions of TV audiences across the world. Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten and Michael Thomas adapt Hector Tobar's 'Deep Down Dark' for this cinematic endurance test directed by Patricia Riggen and comes up failing-even after the happily ever after.

Watch the trailer of 'The 33'

Supervisor Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips) notices structural cracks within the San Jose Gold Mine, Chile and before the warning bells start ringing, there's a huge cave-in. The trapped 33 men hunker down in a break room of sorts housing emergency supplies and a communication tie to the office. But the promise of food and connectivity proves to be hollow. With no communication left to the outside world and 700 meters under the earth there's no other alternative but to put aside their differences and be guided by a leader elect Mario Sepúlveda (Antonio Banderas). The rest is predictable, mostly.

Riggen doesn't appear to have enough insight into the tragedy of an existence several hundred meters below ground. The usual platitudes to dissonance are rushed through while the above ground efforts heat-up a nation. The President, Minister of mining (Rodrigo Santoro), families of the miners and the press all look on the incident as a face saving exercise-While the intent to save is incidental to the intent to gain maximum mileage out of the efforts.

The depiction swings from the tensions underground, to the pressure brought on by technical faults on the ground, swinging to families put in tents outsides the gates, for some relief. María Segovia (Juliette Binoche), acts as liaison for the families while her estranged drug addict brother experiences withdrawal down below.

'The 33' doesn't really give you the intricacies involved in the experience or the underlying politics involved in scavenging beyond country borders for a rescue. The many characters end up as mere caricatures. The mine company is the villain and in the end is said to never have had to pay liability for the incident. Minister of Mining, Golborne's risk is huge but we don't see any repercussions of that decision. And the men, when they come out one-by-one, from the capsule, look all fresh and rested from their ordeal. In fact throughout the ordeal it was theatrics and hallucinations that came through in heavily accented lingua. The sheer terror of maybe never coming out of the hell is never experienced here. And that's this picture's biggest failing. It did seem like since Riggen already knew the outcome, she lost track of what in reality could have occurred way below ground.

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