The 33, a tale of survival

The 33, based on the real life struggle of Chilean miners trapped underground premiered Nov. 9.

photo courtesy of flickr

The 33, based on the real life struggle of Chilean miners trapped underground premiered Nov. 9.

By Arielle Gordon, Arts Editor

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The 33, a movie based on the true story of the 33 Chilean miners who survived underground for 69 days, premiered Nov 13.

The movie covers the unbelievable, but true story of the 33 Chilean miners who survived 2,000 feet underground for 69 days after the gold mine they were working in collapsed above them.

Even though viewers know what happens and how the story ends, the movie does a good job of foreshadowing and keeps the audience engaged.

The movie opening scene of a weekend gathering of many of the mining families gives insight into the typical family life in Chile.

It then transitions into the mine and depicts the collapse, which is more action-oriented and fast moving. It can be a little difficult to follow, but it manages to accurately capture the fear and urgency of the miners in the life-or-death situation.

Once the miners make it to the refuge and take stock of the situation, we began to meet each of the miners and understand the weight of the situation. Mario Sepúlveda (Antonio Banderas), takes control of the situation and becomes in charge of food rationing and methods of survival and potential escape. He keeps morale high and convinces fellow miners to remain hopeful, a positive message in the otherwise bleak situation.

After the families of the miners receive news of the collapse, they rush to the mine to check on their loved ones, but they get locked out of the property and receive no answers. Their anger is palpable and is only reduced when the minister of mining, Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro)
arrives and promises to get answers and to do his best to rescue the miners.

Progress is slow but through the power of editing, only the important developments are shown and other events are skimmed over. At the beginning of each new day, the day number appears on the bottom of the screen to keep the audience informed.

Additionally, the movie does a good job of showcasing the events above ground and the actions of the miners underground. It keeps the story balanced and allows the audience to see the story from both perspectives. We feel the agony of both the miners and their families when the rescue efforts stall, but we also feel the pain of the families when they have no information about the miners, even though the audience knows that the miners are alive.

The movie starts with a shocking statistic: 12,000 miners die in mining accidents each year, and ends with the sobering revelation that these 33 miners were never compensated for what they went through , nor was company who owned the mine was found not guilty of criminal negligence.

The surprising statistics and the way that they are delivered reminds the audience of the reality of the situation. While the disaster made for a good movie, it is not something that should be repeated. The ending information leaves the audience with the knowledge that not everything is fair in the world, but humanity can persevere.

Overall, a good movie with a powerful message and definitely worth seeing.