The 33

Movie:  The 33

Rating:  4 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)

Review:   There was a mine out in the Atacama Desert in Chile called the San Jose Mine.  It had been worked for gold and copper since 1889, and provided work for the hardy men who lived in the nearby town.  Until August 5th, 2010, that is, when 33 men went down the shaft 2300 feet and the earth fell on top of them, trapping them with no way out.

The foreman for the miners, Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips), had pressed the owners to look at signs that there was structural damage in the walls of the mine.  Naturally he was given assurances that all was well, even though the miners are soon to learn that the escape ladders to the surface were never completed.  Once the walls of the mine began to crack and collapse, the miners hop on their transport vehicles and desperately make for “The Refuge”, where emergency supplies were kept.  Amazingly, all 33 miners make it to this refuge site, and find almost no supplies are stocked there.  Thus began the odyssey of how the miners fight to stay alive until help could come, without any means of contacting the outside world.

This film is a story about survival, and maintaining hope in the face of almost certain death.  In the first hours of being trapped, Mario Sepulveda (Antonio Banderas) stepped up to become the group’s leader.  Mario rallied the men to make plans for a long stay, rationed the meager supplies of food that were supposed to last three days but were stretched much further, and frequently provided the inspirational pep talks to keep their hopes of rescue alive.  Meanwhile, above the ground the families of the miners were going through their own tests of faith.  Maria Segovia (Juliette Binoche) confronted the government officials who seemed baffled by the enormity of a rescue effort, and became a public figure that was picked up by the Chilean media.  Chilean President Pinera (Bob Gunton), quickly realized the country would be watching to see how the government responded to the crisis, and dispatched the Minister of Mines Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro) and chief engineer Andre Sougarret (Gabriel Bryne) to assess the situation and attempt a rescue.  This film is a moving and compelling true story of how a miraculous rescue was achieved while the eyes of a nation, and eventually the whole world was watching.  Truly an emotional roller coaster worth experiencing.

Actress To Watch:  Of all the powerful and accomplished Hispanic actors in the film, only Cote de Pablo is from Chile.  Best known for her long run on NCIS as Ziva, Cote is a very fine actress who should be given bigger roles in film.  She is also a talented songstress, and performs a moving rendition of Gracias a la Vida (Thank You Life) in one of her scenes.

Dialogue Nuggets:  “If they make it to the Refuge, they have enough food and water for three days.”

Mine Administrator – “I’ve seen five collapses.  Do you know how many men were saved?  None!”

Trapped Miner – “It took 100 years to dig this deep.  Do you think they are going to spend what it takes to come get us?”

Andre Sougarret – “I’m saying there is less than 1% chance of reaching them.”

Two Trapped Miners – “Why don’t we pray together?”  “I don’t know the words.”  “God doesn’t care.”

Oldest Miner with 47 years experience – “I am handing in my papers.  I quit!”

President Pinera – “This message comes to us from the depths of the mountain.  We are all alive and well.”

News Anchor – “More than a billion people are witnessing this miracle in the Aracana Desert.”

Message left behind on wall of The Refuge:  “Here lived 33 miners 5 August – 13 October 2010.  God was with us.”

Interesting Factoid:  Drilling efforts from Chile, Canada and Australia went bust.  It was the drill from the good old USA that saved the day!

Post Credits:  See all the real miners together again after the film ends.






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