On August 5, 2010 32 Chilean miners and one from Bolivia were sent into the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, despite the fact that there were signs that mountain on top of them was weakening. After the mine collapsed, and without knowing, initially, if these 33 men were even alive, a movement began to have them rescued, no matter what had to be done.


Starring Antonio Banderas, as Mario Sepulveda, the de facto leader of the trapped men, and directed by Patricia Riggen, "The 33" is a celebration of life and brotherhood. Sixty-nine days is a very long time to be underground, and facing death. But the resilience of these men and their families, who would not back down from a fight with the Chilean government, which was forced to do the right thing, is remarkable, and deserves to be brought to life in this inspiring film.


Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hector Tobar's best seller "Deep Down Dark", the screenplay for "The 33", written by Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten and Michael Thomas from a screen story by Jose Rivera, manages to sustain the dramatic suspense to the very end, despite the fact that everyone already knows the outcome. This is an amazing feat, considering more than a billion people worldwide watched as this miracle rescue unfolded.


There is no denying that the true story behind "The 33" is emotional, humanizing and special. Mario Sepulveda, who was on set for the filming, states "My personal hope is that people who see it will realize that there are no obstacles that can't be overcome and that there's nothing more beautiful than being alive and being close to those one loves."


Opinion: See It Now!




With a plethora of new movies recounting historical events, my reviews are becoming redundant --- it can't be helped. "The 33" is another true story where the outcome is widely known, and yet the movie manages to sustain our interest, and maintain a level of suspense most fictional thrillers would like to achieve.


Buoyed by competent performances from Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche and Lou Diamond Phillips, "The 33" digs deep --- no pun intended --- into the rescue of the Chilean miners who captured the world's attention as they were trapped 2000 feet underground for an astounding 69 days.


Lesser known to American audiences is Rodrigo Santoro, seen in 2014 as Xerxes in "300: Rise of an Empire". The handsome Brazilian actor plays Laurence Golborne, a Chilean government official, new on the job, who refuses to take no for an answer when it appears all hope is lost to rescue the miners. His heroic role in the story is an inspiration to anyone who ever thought something was impossible.


"The 33" is ably directed by Mexican-born Patricia Riggen. At 45 she is not a rookie, but this film confirms that another female director is a cinematic force.


As emotional as the rescue effort was, equally fascinating are the technical challenges that the crews had to overcome to bring the men to the Earth's surface. The final credits include shots of the actual 33 miners, all alive and well --- and who still consider themselves brothers after their shattering ordeal.


Opinion:  See It Now!