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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, September 09, 2016

Movie Review - The 33

The 33 (2015)
Starring Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas, Juan Pablo Raba, Oscar Nuñez, Tenoch Huerta, Macro Treviño, Adriana Barraza, Kate del Castillo, Cote de Pablo, Elizabeth De Razzo, Naomi Scott, Gustavo Angarita, Alejandro Goic, Bob Gunton, and Gabriel Byrne
Directed by Patricia Riggen
**This film is currently available via HBO Now***

While I was mostly captivated while watching The 33 - the true story of a group of 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days 2300 feet underground -- I was more entranced by the story as opposed to the film itself which feels too constrained by stereotypical movie tropes to really allow an emotional connection to the characters.  Director Patricia Riggen's film is admittedly hindered by a large cast of characters, but perhaps because of the abundance of possible stories, the movie never creates a visceral impact that I expected a film of this ilk to have.

The lead of the film is certainly Antonio Banderas as Mario Sepúlveda, a husband and father whose steadfast belief that they would be saved placed him in a leadership position with his trapped group.  Banderas does fine work here, but the film doesn't allow us to really connect with him in any way.  Sure, we get the requisite opening act in which we get a cursory overview and understanding of many of the lives of the miners before the fateful day, but these moments don't create a bond between the viewer and the characters.  Perhaps there's just too many people in play to really make this film work, or perhaps it would've fared better in the hands of different writers.

In addition to the darkness and oppressive heat 200 stories underground, The 33 also allows us to glimpse the troubles facing the rescuers and family members above ground.  Once again, there are too many pieces to the puzzle here for things to really click.  Riggen does a decent job of balancing both sides, but part of me wonders if the film would've succeeded if we'd never left the constricting confines of the miners' temporary habitat.  The 33 is undoubtedly an intriguing story and one that deserved to be told...I simply wish it was in a little better film.  It's not that what's presented is particularly bad, it's just a bit too generic for its own good.

The RyMickey Rating:  C

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