The 33

by | Nov 11, 2015 | 0 comments

A Well Balanced Tribute to the 33 Chilean Miners

Stories of great human achievements are often prone to be incredibly cheesy, and you can’t blame the filmmakers; it’s hard to achieve the balance that produces a realistic story with a meaningful message. Fortunately, The 33 falls on the good side of such tackiness.

The 33 is the true story of the 33 Chilean miners that were stuck in a mine for more than two months in 2010. The story starts by showing us the (mostly) happy lives of the miners. The most important characters in the film are Mario (Antonio Banderas) the moral leader, Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips) in charge of the safety of the other miners, and Alex (Mario Casas) the rebellious homeless who has a sister: Maria (Juliette Binoche) who makes a living by selling empanadas. After some tremors, 33 miners are trapped inside the mine at more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 700 m. (2,300 ft) into the ground. The government of Chile, thus, sends the very green minister Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro) to silence the case, but surprisingly Laurence becomes incredibly willing to save the miners’ lives.

The film is very light for such a heavy subject, but it does explore a lot of deep aspects in its runtime. I liked how it didn’t really pick a biased view on any subject, it showed us the happy and unhappy lives of the miners and their families; it showed us the hard work and laziness of the private mining contractors; and it showed us the blind eye and the intense care from the government. It also explored the human will to survive, the rise of leaders in moments under pressure, religious conviction, and even racism (with the bullying of the a Bolivian miner). Director Patricia Riggen was able to touch on each of these aspects, but didn’t linger long enough to bore us.

In terms of acting, the big standouts are the veterans Juliette Binoche and Antonio Banderas. I especially liked Binoche as she completely fools us and makes us believe she is a Latina (a great credit goes to the makeup department), she perfects her accent and more importantly makes us see the pain she goes through with the tough relationship with her brother. Banderas, meanwhile, brings out his leadership not only in his role, but for the film as well; he might have had some of the cheesiest scenes and lines, but he expertly turned it to his advantage so that he ended up giving you goose bumps. The leadership role comes to him surprisingly naturally. Ad as for the rest of the cast I was extremely touched by a scene in which all of them share their last dinner and they imagine that they are having a huge feast with their loved ones.

It was a bit long of a finale, and it was a shame because the pace had been insuperably great until then. But in the end the film takes a difficult subject and succeeds in telling an inspiring story without falling into a tawdry theme; added to two great performances, the film exceeds my expectations. 





Historical Accuracy



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