The 33 is a biopic disaster survival drama directed by Patricia Riggen. The film begins with a tight-knit group of miners and their families. Celebrating in their time off, just before heading back to the copper-gold mine, San Jose Mine. Lucho (Phillips), the shift foreman, detects signs that mine has shifted and become unstable. The owner disregards the warning as their quota has gone up. After the miners enter and begin to start work, the rumbling starts. The miners make their way around the mine to safety as the foundation begins to collapse. With the only way out completely blocked, they must now band together to survive. The 33 miners, trapped 2,300 feet underground, must now survive in a race against time.
The pacing of The 33 feels off and there seems to be missing some meat to the story. Just 15 minutes into a 2-hour film and the mine starts to collapse. The mine collapsing so early killed the tension as the rest of film is focused on the sentimental and psychological effects of the incident. The story then just becomes a bit standard even though it was amazing what happened in that 2010 mining accident. It was nice to see that side of the story how it affected the families of the miners, but scenes went too long. Visually it was a bit boring, but that can’t be helped as most of the film is spent above the mine and in the mine. Visually the best scene involved a hallucination, but there isn’t much you can do in a dark mine even though it was shot nicely. James Horner score helped with the overall tone of the film. The cast of miners were great and played well off each other. The worst was having to see Juliette Binoche trying to act Hispanic. As much as my mom loves her, I hated her in this movie. As a Hispanic, it was cringeworthy to watch her performance. Even worse than the pacing and too long runtime, was the language being spoken. It was jarring to watch Spanish speaking actors perform in English for a film about a Chilean disaster. Not sure if it was to draw more viewers, but I just found it distracting and it partially ruined the movie for me.
There were moments that felt a bit too over the top, but overall the film’s premise was interesting enough. That might just be my bias for enjoying biopics. The 33 is an average film, but I think they were just trying to create a film that did justice to those involved. If you can overlook the flaws, you may enjoy this inspirational biopic that is about hope.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 2 hr 7 min
Director: Patricia Riggen
Screenplay: Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten and Michael Thomas
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin and Lou Diamond Phillips
Producers: Robert Katz, Edward McGurn and Mike Medavoy
Music: James Horner
Cinematography: Checco Varese