Antonio Banderas stars as Mario Sepúlveda in The 33. (Beatrice Aguirre/Warner Bros. Pictures)
Before watching it on the big screen, The 33 is already noteworthy for its accomplishments off screen. It’s the first film with a mostly Hispanic cast to get a wide American release in over 2,500 theaters. It’s one of the final films scored by the legendary Oscar-winning composer James Horner. It’s the rare wide release not only helmed by a female director, but a Hispanic female at that.
The 33 is based on the incredible true story of the 33 Chilean miners rescued after being trapped underground for over two months. Sure, we’ve seen many films loosely based on true events, but according to director Patricia Riggen, 90 to 95 percent of the events in the movie actually happened.
This distinguished pedigree may seem like a setup for a letdown, but it’s not. The 33 is one of the best movies of the year.
Antonio Banderas, Gabriel Byrne, Rodrigo Santoro, Cote de Pablo, James Brolin and Oscar Nuñez headline the cast alongside Juliette Binoche and Lou Diamond Phillips with star-returning roles. After a few scenes in, the movie sets things up with a bang, literally, with the thrilling mine-collapse scene. I’ve seen a lot of big budget movies this year, but two of the most thrilling scenes I’ve seen so far are the aforementioned mine-collapse scene and the tsunami in the Norwegian movie The Wave – proof that you can make a satisfying action movie without the luxury of an unlimited budget.
The rest of the movie, of course, deals with the well-chronicled account of the miners’ struggle to stay alive as the world watches the efforts to save them. We all know how the story ends, but that doesn’t make the film any less effective. As with any fact-based movie, the element-of-surprise factor doesn’t matter as much as the execution, and The 33 executes.
Movies have always been about escapism. If you want to escape for a couple hours, The 33 will have you walking out the door with a smile, as well as maybe a fear of mines.
Warner Bros. Pictures
In theaters Nov. 13
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