The 33

The 2010 Chilean mining accident is a wonderful topic for a movie. I am surprised it took them five years in fact.

It was a national event, it lasted months, it involved dozens of people (33 to be exact), and it had a happy ending.

Imagine if they opened the hole and it was a few guys surrounded by corpses. That’d be terrifying. That would be a different sort of movie, not at all uplifting.

So I am going into The 33 with optimism. I hope they get buried within like, the first 10 minutes too. Let them build up that scare factor just a bit.

Besides, the last movie I saw set in Chile that involved a huge disaster and trying to survive was Aftershock. That wasn’t uplifting, well, besides the tectonic plates.

Seeing all those sweaty food deprived bodies could also be considered uplifting.

12,000 miners die every year. That is a big number. But, at least 9 million kids under 5 die every year, and that is only one portion of minors. So it is much more dangerous to be a minor than a miner. I assume.

Well, in this case, the miners were going down on a normal day, just to get the copper and gold. They use relatively small crews, I guess to not upset the mountain too much with the drills and other equipment. This particular mountain has been mined heavily and they are very deep into it. Mario Sepúlveda (Antonio Banderas) needs some extra money, so he is working too, despite not originally on the schedule. And guess what? Not long after they are down there and working, the mountain begins to move. Now, a super rock is blocking their only exit and they are trapped in a relatively small area. They have a hall way or two, and thankfully they are in The Refuge, a room with some food and supplies. But still, it is quite dangerous and scary down there.

The food supplies are not plentiful. The company lied about a few safety measures as well, making escape impossible. And the company isn’t even going to do anything about it! They are a private company, so they are doing the bare minimum, but they aren’t even letting the friends and family members enter the area, as they are blocked off by gates and people with guns.

Thankfully, María Segovia (Juliette Binoche) is not having any of their shit. She is the sister of one of the miners and she basically helps frenzy them into a riot, creating pressure on the government and company to attempt the rescue mission. This brings the Minister of Mining, Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro) down to the scene. He is moved by everyone’s committment and he promises to do everything he can to rescue the miners, no matter the cost.

Sure they only have 3 days of food for 3 people and it would take at least a week to get a small hole somewhere into their area. And they also have no idea how to get to the right spot, due to the density of the stone being unknown and their drills will curve. But damn it, they gotta try, right?

Obviously with so many minors, we have a huge cast. But most of the minors have no talking roles. But the people they do showcase have families worried about them or other unusual characteristics. And a lot of people helping, including Bob Gunton playing President Piñera. These people are played by Mario Casas, Juan Pablo Raba, Oscar Nuñez, Tenoch Huerta, Marco Treviño, Jacob Vargas, Lou Diamond Phillips, James Brolin, Adriana Barraza, Kate del Castillo, Elizabeth De Razzo, Cote de Pablo, and Gabriel Byrne.

Count them. They don’t even try to make the number of characters accurate.

Did I cry? Of course I cried. They had beautiful tense moments of rescue. They had people who hadn’t seen each other for 69 days, who had assumed their loved ones died, reconnecting. Someone had a baby girl, and you know how they affect me. But just because I cried doesn’t mean it is an excellent film.

First of all, when your title is The 33 and it is a well known fact that there are 33 people, you should probably have all the many extras around who don’t talk when the whole group is together. That dinner scene is unacceptable. Didn’t even have people standing to the side having their own conversation.

Second of all, there is geology in this movie. Not a lot, technically. But there was the big “eureka” moment with how they would get the drill to the correct area. And it was terrible. I cannot believe that is how it really happened, because it would mean all of the drilling crews were inept.

But there were some nice moments of course. Banderas gives an excellent speech or two that really get me going. The scene where they imagined food was super weird. And they really felt like coworkers and a family by the end.

Slightly inspirational without shoving it in your face, and a nice tail. Just those inaccuracies.

2 out of 4.

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