Movie Review: The 33 – A Grueling Watch, But In a Good Way

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Ok, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Antonio Banderas in a serious movie, not one that immediately comes to mind. But here’s something amazing.

Dude can act.

The 33 is the story of the 33 mine workers trapped 200 stories below the surface in a Chilean mine cave in during 2010. The men were down there for 69 torturous days. While an exciting premise, this is more of a movie about relationships than it is about the rescue effort.

I will admit it’s a grueling watch, but in a good way. Banderas brought a level this character that I didn’t even know he was capable of. I think the acting was quite well done in this movie, and Banderas really led the way with a strong performance.

One major problem I have with this is the score. While written by the late, great James Horner who performed amazing scores like the one for Titanic, this one was just too doggone overpowering for the movie. This isn’t a beautiful movie. It’s not about the visual effects of the scenery and I felt the score came on too strongly and really didn’t match the story.

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Also, despite the fact that the story is about the Chilean mine workers, it also brings in their families, showing their wives praying and fighting with politicians for their freedom. While the women in this film put forth a good effort, I feel as though they cut back to them a bit too much, when they really could have just gone with the stronger story going on underground.

Another thing that threw me…this was supposed to happen in Chile, right? Then why are there so many white people there? While again. the acting was good, I really felt they went a bit to heavy handed on the white actors getting crammed into the script.

While this is a strong effort, I felt like three narrative lines were two too many. I think the film should have centrally focused on the miners and allowed those additional stories to take more of a back seat. The three different narratives become unwieldy and make a relatively simple, clean plot, seem messy.

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Despite that, this movie does deliver on its message of hope. I feel that it really did capture the essence of the original mine collapse story and did credit to their source material.

It’s a very good effort and worth the watch for the acting alone, though I strongly recommend bringing some ear plugs to the over the top score. I’m pretty sure not every spot in Chile has someone playing the Spanish guitar, especially not 200 feet below the surface. In that, this was a case where silence would have spoken louder and been far more dramatic.

This is a more cerebral movie than you’d expect. Despite the fact that the actions were dramatic, the movie isn’t so much about the drama as it is the relationships forged through the drama. It’s a strong effort and one of Antonio Banderas’ best performance.
WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

4 stars

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