The 33 Review
Directed by Patricia Riggen (Girls in Progress) and adapted from Hector Tobar's book Deep Down Dark, The 33 is the true story of the Aug 5th 2010 disaster that left 33 Chilean miners trapped in the San Jose mine after the mine collapsed.
Starring Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche, the film focuses on the events leading upto and during the disaster and the devastating effect it had on the miners loved ones.
As strong as the source material is, the film stutters and begins to show cracks from the beginning. We are introduced to the doomed miners as they all celebrate the forthcoming retirement of the oldest miner. The problem with having 33 protagonists as such is that backstory is extremely thinned out with 90% of them leaving the audience only really paying attention to the four whose stories take center stage.
That being said, being able to see the trials and tribulations that these brave working men went through was eye-opening and was shot brilliantly trapping the audience in the claustrophobic environment with the Chilean miners during key scenes until the immersion is broken by a sudden cut in editing.
As the time progresses and the rescue attempts continue, there is a beautifully melancholy scene where the miners are down to their last rations and whilst sharing their final meal, they start to hallucinate their loved ones delivering a nutritious supper. The use of divine lighting mixed with an angelic chorus and hopeful laughter was just the right level of somber mixed with hope that put you in the shoes of all 33 that miraculously survived this ordeal.
With its few shining moments, The 33 unfortunately fails to keep the drill going for the entire two hour runtime. An inconsistency in tone and rough cuts ultimately dampens the gritty plot of the storyline and leads to the conclusion that although the final act pays a great amount of respect to the brave men, it felt a bit rushed and only reminds the audience that watching the live event unfold was more gripping.