The 33 is based on the real experience of a group of thirty three Chilean gold miners that became trapped deep within the earth during a cave in of the San Jose Mine in 2010 and how their harrowing attempts at escape at survival captivated the attention of the world. The movie stars Antonio Banderas as “Super” Mario Sepulveda and is directed by Patricia Riggen.
You could really tell that the filmmakers were trying to bring awareness to the issues involved and the dangers and reforms needed in the mining industry. Economic desperation, risky cost cutting, political liability, and a culture of resignation that values lives of workers less than the bottom line all act as crushing pressures that set the stage for what unfolds.
The film unfortunately misses the mark on tone with stagey melodrama and overly simplified conflicts that fail to engage. Tension is hard to build if you’re already familiar with the outcome of the true life events. This is a shame since the subject has a lot of potential to be explored. A poor script keeps the story from really coming to life and plays things out by the numbers. Even Antonio Banderas’ performance isn’t enough to keep viewers’ focus in place for long.
To it’s credit, The 33 does make an effort to try to feature the humanity of the story and bring light to the reasons these events happened and why this was a unique incident in how it unfolded. There is a strong emphasis on food and family and how people handle times of pressure and hardship. The moments don’t carry enough weight to pack much of an emotional punch though.
The film is rated PG-13 for some bawdy language and situations and alarming moments of danger. Little ones should stay away and will likely find it hard to stay focused and interested.
The 33 is out in theaters nationwide.