(Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Lou Diamond Phillips, et al / Blu-Ray / PG-13 / 2016 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: 'The 33' is based on the real-life event, when a gold and copper mine collapses, it traps 33 miners underground for 69 days.
Blu-Ray Verdict: From the off you should know that this isn't 33 stories from 33 men, moreover - and for dramatic purposes alone - the movie takes stories from several of the trapped miners into the main characters; such as Mario Sepúlveda's (Antonio Banderas) soccer playing daughter, and Jessica Salgado's (Cote de Pablo) pregnancy.
Therein, Mexican born film director Patricia Riggen has ensured that 'The 33' is, quite simply put, a wonderful filmmaking experience. I am sure you remember the true life events depicted in the movie. A cave-in in a deep rock mine in Chile in 2010 trapped 33 miners deep underground. They remained trapped for 69 days. The whole world watched and waited along with the loved ones of the miners, hoping and praying for a successful rescue.
As aforementioned, the film rotates between three struggles: the isolation of the miners struggling to survive, the tent city populated by their families struggling to maintain hope, and the Chilean government struggling with the politics and public relations of a rescue mission. From a character standpoint, each of these three segments is given a face.
Antonio Banderas as Mario becomes the focal point of the miners. He searches for an escape route, takes charge of the (very limited) food rations, and acts as referee and light of hope in an extremely volatile situation. Juliette Binoche (yes the French actress) is Maria, the sister of one of the trapped miners and the most assertive of those pushing the government to attempt a rescue. Rodrigo Santoro plays Laurence Goldborne, Chile's Minister of Mining, and the one who pushes the government to move forward with the costly rescue mission.
Other key characters include Bob Gunton as Chile's President Pinera, Lou Diamond Phillips as "Don Lucho", the safety inspector, Gabriel Byrne as the chief engineer, James Brolin as Jeff Hart (leading the U.S. drilling team), Naomi Scott as Mario's wife, and three of the other miners: Oscar Nunez, Mario Casas, and Juan Pablo Raba.
The most bizarre segment comes courtesy of miner hallucinations. It's a fantasy-infused Last Supper sequence that plays out to the sounds of a Bellini opera, while the food and drink flow and the family members join in the joy. It's not difficult to imagine the brain taking these poor gentlemen to such places of mental torture.
As if the approach is to make the most viewer-friendly buried miner film possible, we aren't witness to much underground conflict, and the internal bickering within the Chilean government officials is kept to a minimum. We do get to see the media circus that occurred during the ordeal which, of course, most of us witnessed it in real time anyway. In conclusion, sure, 'The 33' does have a few moments that might have felt too "Hollywoody," but overall the film didn't feel emotionally manipulated. The genuinely stirring score comes from the late James Horner, which the film paid tribute to nicely in the end. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
- The Mine Collapse
- The 33: The World Was Watching
- Theatrical Trailer
True courage shines through the toughest moments when “The 33” arrives onto Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on February 16, with the digital HD of the film available on February 2nd.