Movie review: The 33
The real-life news story of the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground by an horrific accident in 2010 made for must-see TV at the time. If you watched it, this movie will seem very familiar to you, as it follows fairly closely the story of the book, written after their miraculous escape.
The men were buried alive in the 100 year-old gold and copper mine, with 300 of their family and friends above ground in a makeshift camp, waiting alongside the global media, for their loved ones to be saved, against all the odds.
The inspirational and amazing aspect of the story was that, unlike others who emerge from such stressful situations to fall apart in fractious arguments, the ‘band of brothers’ vowed to work together as one afterwards. Effectively held hostage by the dangerous and life-threatening conditions in which they had laboured every day, they stayed alive on meagre rations after the major rock fall and bonded for ever.
Betrayed by the lack of health and safety which most of us would expect from our employers, they discovered almost immediately after they were trapped, that the ladders which should have guided them back to the surface, in the event of an accident, had not been properly installed.
Effectively, they were then doomed, but with an almost incredible strength and stamina, including their religious faith, they triumphed to worldwide relief, when they emerged after 69 days.
As they never got compensation, however, this was the raison d’etre behind the disaster movie and one hopes that they will benefit from box-office takings. Some star names are involved, as Mario, well known as being the charismatic front man of the actual workers, is ably played by Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche also has a major role as the sister of a miner. Rodrigo Santoro plays charismatic Minister of Mining Laurence Golborne, who refused to give up on the men.
The 33 was filmed with the co-operation of the miners, their families and their rescuers and was based on the true story of survival, but mines a fault line somewhere between fact and fiction, that proves unsatisfactory in a storyline that is pure gold.
by Liz Kennedy
The 33 (127 minutes) is a certificate 12A