It’s hard to believe that the Chilean mining accident happened almost six years ago, it remains so fresh in my memory that if you’d said it happened last year I wouldn’t have doubted you. If ‘The 33’ does nothing else it will be a sudden reminder of just how fast time moves. There are many disaster/survival movies out there, some true stories and other works of fiction. They are a mixed bag too so I really didn’t know what to expect from ‘The 33’.
The film didn’t start particularly well as there isn’t a lot of build up to the initial disaster, some may like this quick start but personally I’d have liked a little more tension to have been built. After the disaster plays out on screen the passing of time commences however I found it hard to really get a grasp of this, even though the film clearly informs the audience of this in this first section of the movie I found it hard to get a real sense for it. There was also a strange contrast to this part of the film. With some very serious and dark moments happening underground you’d begin to really get into the film however when the story then shifts to above the surface at times it has a very light-hearted feel to it which didn’t do the film any favours as one complete picture. This only happened on a few occasions but I did find it a bit puzzling due to the nature of the subject matter. I think as well knowing the outcome of the story didn’t really help me get lost in the movie. These were all quite small flaws though, none alone were enough to derail the movie but when they were all together in the first third of the movie it meant that the film wasn’t quite as enjoyable as it could have been.
Nonetheless the performances were impressive and I really believed all of the characters here. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better Antonio Banderas performance, albeit I haven’t seen a lot of his work but this doesn’t take away from his work here which I thought was good. When the film gets past its messy start and really settles into itself it becomes much better and far more enthralling. No moment being more effective than the finale, you’ll maybe be surprised at how powerful it is due to the average start. This only showed me how well the film had made up for this though. One element that accompanies this turnaround is the fantastic score from James Horner. This is Horner’s second posthumous score after his work on last years ‘Southpaw’. It really connects the second half of the film together well and evokes the desired emotions in the audience. It was quite reminiscent of his work on ‘Titanic’ almost twenty years previous. It only reminded me once more of what a talent the world has lost.
So whilst ‘The 33’ has a shaky start and seems to be becoming nothing more than an average movie it manages to improve as the film unfolds. The strong performance from the characters playing the miners really takes you into this story and the score from Horner makes you feel when you didn’t think you really cared that much. This is an incredible true story and ‘The 33’ has done a good job of telling it, but it doesn’t ever quite capture the magnitude of it. It has enough heart to get away with it though and I would recommend this movie.
Rating – 7/10
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