Film Review – The 33

Film Review - The 33DIRECTED BY: Patricia Riggen

STARRING: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mario Casas, Juan Pablo Raba, Kate Del Castillo, Cote De Pablo, Jacob Vargas, Bob Gunton, Gabriel Byrne, Naomi Scott, Marco Treviño, Oscar Nunez and Alejandro Goic



Based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days. 

FIlm Review - The 33The 33 is a film based on the true story about 33 miners from Copiapó, Chile, are working in the San José mine when it collapses, trapping all of them in the refuge around 2,000ft below ground. The film showcases the men trying to survive whilst the Government of Chile makes attempts to rescue them and how the efforts took up to 69 days to get them all out.

Film Review - The 33The 33 is based on the incredible true story of the 2010 Copiapó mining accident which resulted in thirty-three men being trapped over 2,000ft below the surface and yet sixty-nine days later, everyone of them was rescued safely from the refuge they remained in until that time. I remember the events vaguely from the start and of the end of the 69 day timeline and figured it would only be a matter of time before this would get the Hollywood treatment of extraordinary tale of survival and persistence of bravery and hope watched by millions around the world.


The films ensemble has a few familiar faces amongst the miners and those above ground trying to create a rescue plan and family members awaiting for their love ones to be saved. The miners underground have a few notable performances, with Antonio Banderas in good form especially towards the films later half as Mario Sepúlveda, a man trying to keep morale and hope alive amongst the group whilst being thrown into the spotlight as the public face of the media circus surrounding the story, Lou Diamond Phillips as Luis “Don Lucho” Urzúa, also coming to his own in the films later half as if him and Banderas got into the right mindset for the people they were portraying, and for me Juan Pablo Raba shone the brightest amongst the cast playing the miners as Darío Segovia, with a scene that he shares with Marco Treviño I thought was well executed. On the surface, Rodrigo Santoro gets to show more emotion and range playing Minister Laurence Golborne than he has done in previous work I’ve seen him in (Lost, 300, Focus) and I thought he gave a good performance in the film. What helped elevate a few particular scenes in the film was the score provided by the late, great James Horner which is beautifully composed. The special effects of the mine collapsing are actually handled well also.


While Patricia Riggen does a fine job of directing the film and attempts to balance the story between the miners and what happens above the surface, the film still manages to feel melodramatic are times, particularly heavy on it in the first half of the film, and as the events itself last for sixty-nine days, you can feel the film lag in the middle portion (though there is a scene in which the miners have their ‘last meal’ as it where which I thought was probably the films strong point). It also touches on certain aspects which I hoped it would have time to explore (such as the operations of the San Esteban Mining Company and the lawsuit against them by the miners) but unfortunately the film never has time to go into that and uses a line of text to reference the legal action by films end. As diversity still remains an issue in the Hollywood climate, it is rather odd though to see the likes of Juliette Binoche and even Gabriel Byrne appear and attempting Chilean accents. It is as weird as it sounds and takes you out of the film at times when there’s scenes featuring them, though as always you see the studios ‘commercial’ reasons behind such casting. As expected with a story and ensemble this big, we only get to know a few characters out of the thirty-three miners, so this makes most of them just background characters and not explored at all.



At times melodramatic and formulaic and handles the subject with care, though maybe too delicately. The score from James Horner is beautiful, the cinematography is good and the performances from the cast are good, personally for me Juan Pablo Raba being the highlight. 5/10

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