'The 33' is an upbeat underground survival drama.

Choosing a real-life event as the theme of a film is obviously challenging because there might have been a chance of knowing the story beforehand if we followed the actual incident. The 33, however, features an honest and painstaking version without being too overweening. On contrast, it has a fairly breezy tone to the whole phenomenon as to showcase it with grace & optimism instead of grief & doldrums.

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So, some might have come across this tale of miners trapped in Chile mine five years ago via media. The plight of the situation lasted for around two months as the rescuers tried to dig their way through the collapsed mine when the world communicated with the miners using an uncommon webcam chat. The movie captures the soul of the event, both its claustrophobic moments and surprisingly serendipitous surroundings.

The film does a fairly methodical portrayal, not just a simple pit hole, but more of a subterranean barracks. The visual is so good that the viewers wonder where the hell they stuck together, the view of the underground accommodation and outward desert are exhibited with harrowing cinematography. It’s a polished look although, yet noticeable without being too sleek.

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The 33 is a character driven story that gives much opportunity for the actors. Atonio Banderas does a ruggedly good job as a de facto leader, with the heavy-footed moves with his character – Mario Sepúlveda, the so-called “Super Mario” of the group. Juliette Binoche has a less sycophantic role to work with, as the sister of one of the miners who slaps government officials into getting their act together.

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While it may have plenty of dramatic moments, the movie maintains an overall pragmatic touch, apparently shown with a rather cheerful soundtrack. This is a case of good intentions not quite leading to a great film, but thanks to committed work from the performers and some solid survival drama elements, The 33 doesn’t completely collapse under the weight of the real story.

There’s a powerful dialogue said by Baderas in the film – “That’s the heart of the mountain, and she finally broke!”. In contrast to that, the movie has the heart almost in the right place to certainly be worth watching once.

May Rating: 3/5

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