Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
It was the major story on the news five years ago. Thirty-three workers trapped a half-mile below the earth in a gold mine in Chile. The world watched for sixty-nine days and cheered as the men were finally rescued. But what happened during that almost seven-weeks is the story of “The 33.”
August 5, 2010 started like most every day in the small town of Copiapo. A group of men, led by Mario (Banderas) heads to work in the local mine. Among the delegation is a man about to retire after 46-years and a new man starting what will be the rest of his life working below the earth. Despite warnings by the safety official (Lou Diamond Phillips), things are not up to code and, when an explosion rips through the mine, the men find themselves trapped. With only three days of food to survive on, the men wait for help to arrive. And wait. And wait. And wait.
Based on true events, and well balanced, the story of “The 33” may be a surprise to many who only know the basics of the event. While things seemed to be going swimmingly on television, it took an amazing amount of red-tape cutting to succeed. Because the world already knows the outcome, it’s this story that holds your attention as you root for the right things to be done.
Banderas is strong as the group’s leader, and the supporting cast of characters each manage to relate the direness of their situation. Diamond Phillips is also well cast as the safety officer. It’s a little under 700 miles from Argentina to Chile, so I guess that is why Bob Gunton was hired to play the Chilean president, though he seems to be channeling Juan Peron, who he played in “Evita.” And as much as I like Gabriel Byrne, I had to chuckle to myself as he tried to hide his Irish brogue with a Spanish accent. The film is well paced and director Riggen gives you the required feeling of claustrophobia needed. I should also note that this is the final film score by composer James Horner, who passed away earlier this year.