The 33: Review


In August of 2010, the world’s attention seemed focused on the Atacama Desert, Chile, when 33 miners were trapped 2,300ft below the ground after a mine cave-in. With the media focused on the rescue efforts of the miners, I myself remember the story really well; especially the almost immediate talk of how the story would make a remarkable film.

Now, six-years later, we have said film in the form of Particia Riggen’s aptly named The 33, which brings the story to the big-screen in a very matter of factly way. Its foundations are sturdy, as Riggen presents us with the characters, as well as the various different levels of the story – both personal and political  – in a way that never feels particularly boring.

A heart-pounding sequence in which the copper-gold mine collapses is the stuff of nightmares and a scene later on in the story, which sees the miners imagining their loved ones around them as they eat their last supper, is incredibly powerful and tear-inducing.  

In these moments where the narrative is allowed to break away from the truth of the subject, The 33 is rousing and beautiful. The rest of the time however, it’s just okay, serving its purpose in recounting the story and asking questions as to who might be ultimately responsible for the incident, but not doing much else.

That said, Antonio Banderas is charming in his leading role as the ‘leader’ of the 33, Mario Sepúlveda, and I’d be surprised if anybody was left unmoved by the film’s uplifting finale, which is accompanied by the swelling strings of the late, great composer, James Horner. 

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