Disaster strikes on Aug. 5, 2010, as a copper and gold mine collapses in Chile, trapping 33 men underground. With more than 2,000 feet of rock in their way, members of a rescue team work tirelessly for 69 days to save the seemingly doomed crew. Beneath the rubble, the miners begin an epic quest to survive, contending with suffocating heat and the need for food and water. With family, friends and the rest of the world watching, it becomes a race against time and a true test of the human spirit.
So you may or may not be aware of the story of the Chilean miners. I wasn’t completely aware so I thought I’d give this film a look. What helped was that it had Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Philips in it. Of course they played some of the miners Mario Sepúlveda and Don Lucho respectively. Since the film is called “The 33” and is about 33 miners, there are 33 miners and since it would be hard to focus on all of them, they only focused on a few of them (I don’t remember any of the other characters’ names because I was focused on Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Philips). This was probably for the best as I didn’t really care about the other miners’ stories. To be fair, these stories include: one about to retire, one who is an Elvis impersonator, one who has a drinking problem, one who is a Bolivian and has a hard time fitting in, one who is having an affair, and one who is having problems with their sister (at least those are the ones I can remember). The film is not just about the people down below, however, as it follows the drama involved in the rescue above and the miners’ families patiently (mostly) waiting for their safe return. This contingent consisted mostly of Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro), a government official, and Andre Sougarret (Gabriel Byrne), a mining expert called in to assist with the rescue. I found that the miners’ families were not well represented here with the most vocal of them being one of the miners’ sister Maria Segovia (Juliette Binoche). I thought Binoche was good here with what little she had. I found that pretty much everyone we got to see up above was okay in their respective roles despite me not caring as much about the whole government angle which also included Chilean President Piñera (Bob Gunton). The acting from the miners down below was okay for the most part but I found Banderas’ performance to be a little over-the-top. Sure this is supposed to be an inspirational story but I found his cheesy inspirational/motivational lines to be a little off-putting. The special effects involved were well done as the initial cave collapse looked realistic and created the only real emotional moment in a film that is supposed to be an emotional film. The look on the miners’ faces when the cave collapsed was real and you could see them feel trapped. This was emotional and I don’t think anything else after that was as the film is just a bunch of guys stuck in a cave with nothing to do. I will say that this film does take a little getting used to because the scenes within the cave are very dark and it is sometimes hard to tell the miners apart. Also the story just seemed a little lazy to me as it never really explained how the miners were saved, the story took a few convenient turns, and it used a little too much news footage to explain what was happening. Overall, this is just an average drama with a little emotion and inspiration.