It’s as if Fate had written a standard Hollywood disaster movie scenario for the miners, and then Hollywood adapted it verbatim.
33 lives trapped in a mine. No one knew if they were alive or dead. The Chilean Mining Accident of 2010 was a true story of courage and survival. It had Hollywood Movie written all over it. And The 33 was all they could come with.
That’s not to say it’s a bad film. The 33 moves, it pays off, and there’s a few laughs along the way. It’s OK, and that’s all. But it could and should be more.
The world watched as the miners emerged. Each rescued worker was a miracle. And who do they ask to direct the movie about the event? Patricia Riggen, whose credits include Girl in Progress and Lemonade Mouth, a Disney original movie. Not exactly stellar credentials.
There were only three days worth of food for 33 workers in the refuge. It took more than two weeks just to drill a hole to find them. The mine’s radio didn’t work, leaving the workers cut off from the world, from their friends and family.
The mine, however, was filled with gold and copper. And not so much as a working radio.
It’s fair to say that the workers’ lives were put in danger, and that they were exploited. The 33 does about the same thing. It tells the story, but with little ambition or inspiration, putting the bare minimum into it while trying to get box office out of it.
There’s many ways to tell this story. One would be to focus on the rescue effort, and delay showing the miners till the very end as the pay-off.
Another would be to show the ordeal exclusively from the miners’ perspective. That, I think, is the way to tell this story, to experience the accident as the miners did. Trapped underground, shut-off from loved-ones, starving, and running out of hope. Imagine this, just maybe, as a point-of-view film.
Instead of…this. It’s as if Fate had written a standard Hollywood disaster movie scenario for the miners, and then Hollywood adapted it verbatim. Thus The 33 was made, a by-the-numbers, seen-it-before, run-of-the-mill disaster movie. Again, it’s not bad. Just conventional.
I am giving the film the benefit of the doubt, and a 2.5 rating, as my screening experience was less than ideal. An audience member mistook the theater for his own living room, and talked aloud the entire time. You know the type. Now imagine three talkers in the same theater. Not helping matters was that, for whatever reason, the theater’s AC was out.
So there I was, trapped in a stuffy, dark place, with no choice as to who I shared the space with. My heart goes out to those miners…