The 33, rated PG-13
At the beginning of this film directed by Patricia Riggen and based on the book Deep Down Dark by journalist Héctor Tobar, we are told the amazing fact that 12,000 miners die in accidents worldwide each year. The 33 is the incredible true story of 33 miners trapped after the San José mine in Chile’s barren Atacama Desert, shifts and collapses in August 2010.
The scene of the collapse is terrifying, and it is unbelievable that none of the miners died during the collapse. Instead, all 33 make it to the “Refuge”, a supposed safe area, with food, communications and first aid supplies 2,300 feet below the surface where the temperature is 94 degrees. However, what they find in the Refuge is that there is only three days’ worth of food and water rations. They find that the emergency ladder to the surface was never completed by the owners of the mine. In addition, the intercom that the miners hope to use to communicate with is found to be unusable. The mining company is portrayed as uncaring and negligent in this film. They have no plans to try to rescue the miners and aren’t sharing any information with the families.
Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro) is Chili’s likable Minister of Mining. He singled-handedly convinces President Sebastián Piñera (Bob Gunton) that there is a moral obligation to try to rescue the minors. We see Golborne confronted outside the mine by María Segovia (Juliette Binoche), one of the trapped miner’s sisters, who has a large role in the film.
Lou Diamond Phillips stars as the miner’s foreman Don Lucho. However, after the collapse, Mario Sepúlveda, played by Antonio Banderas, steps up as the group’s true leader. He rations the small food and water supplies available and tries to encourage the hope and faith of the men as best he can under the circumstances. Hope and faith are recurring themes in this film, both of the miners trapped below, and of the fearful family members that hold vigil outside. But as each day goes by, we see that hope diminishing.
Gabriel Byrne portrays drilling expert Andre Sougarret, called in to help rescue the miners. James Brolin appears in a small role as drilling engineer Jeff Hart. James Horner handles the soundtrack, mixing Chilean instruments with more typical soundtrack orchestral sounds. This would be his final film, as he died in a plane crash June 22, 2015.
The film is rated PG-13 for the mine collapse and some adult language, including the misuse of God’s name.