The 33 Parent Review
The screenplay poignantly depicts the battles, above and below ground, that transpire during the lengthy search.
Do you remember hearing about the Chilean mining accident that happened on August 5, 2010 and captured world media attention a few weeks later when search teams discovered the 33 workers trapped by the collapse were still alive? If so, did you wonder how the group of men managed to survive, especially when it took over two months for rescuers to finally free them from their subterranean prison? These questions are all addressed in this movie, which dramatizes their account of being stranded 700 meters (2,300 feet) underground for 69 days. And even if you know how it ends, the film still presents a gripping story.
The script takes only a few minutes to introduce its central characters. These include a long-time happily married husband (Antonio Banderas) and a young man who has just learned he is about to become a father (Mario Casas), a foreman loyal to his responsibility to keep the crew safe (Lou Diamond Phillips), and a homeless alcoholic with a spotty employment record (Juan Pablo Raba). One is due to retire in two weeks (Marco Treviño), while another is putting in his first day on the job. And then there is a two-timing womanizer (Oscar Nuñez) whose feuding wife and mistress (Elizabeth De Razzo) keep the crew entertained.
All aboard the company bus, the men travel 200 stories down the spiraling shafts of the 100-year-old mine to their assigned work site. Disaster strikes not long after their arrival. A rumble of rock is followed by the bombardment of boulders that block passageways, collapse tunnels, and crush machinery and men. Clouds of dust and debris blast through the corridors plunging them into darkness. With only helmet lamps penetrating the blackness, the frightened employees try to assess the damage and help those who have sustained bloody injuries (some of these are shown). Cut off from any means of escape, the desperateness of their situation settles upon them as heavily as the mountain itself. After a few moments of utter panic (involving arguments and fistfights), the group gathers in an area called “the refuge” and begins to formulate a plan for surviving until they can be found—that is if the negligent company that owns the mine will actually hire anyone to come looking for them.
Meanwhile, word of the accident reaches their families. Gathering at the gates of the San Jose Mine, they angrily demand the private company launch a rescue initiative. Still, their shouts and rock throwing accomplishes little until the Chilean Government decides to step in. Under the direction of the Minister of Mining (Rodrigo Santoro) and with the help of an experienced engineer (Gabriel Byrne), drilling begins. But the difficulties of the terrain thwart their efforts. And, as each day passes, the possibility of a happy reunion becomes more remote.
The screenplay depicts the battles, above and below, that transpire during the lengthy search. Although plagued by fear, depravation and racial prejudice, the tenacious miners learn to pull together with hope, faith and courage. Their prayers to God are particularly poignant. Uniting their goal, loved ones, government agencies and private companies eventually find a way to work co-operatively.
Interestingly though, when the survivors are located and the rescuers face the second challenge of trying to get them out of their stone tomb, a whole new set of problems ensue. And perhaps this is where the real human drama plays out. Suddenly pride, selfishness and greed become temptations. (One character is even threated with knife during a heated argument.) As the characters tackle these foibles, their renewed commitment to humility, forgiveness and genuine charity provide a feast of food for thought. If universally applied, maybe these same principles could even be the solution to many personal and global dilemmas.Directed by Patricia Riggen. Starring Antonio Banderas, Cote de Pablo, Rodrigo Santoro . Running time: 127 minutes. Updated May 12, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The 33 here.
The 33 Parents Guide
When the miners realize the desperateness of their situation, some of them become discouraged, others choose to have hope. How do you think you might respond under similar circumstances? What part does religion play in their fight? How does the faith of the few bless the doubts of the many? What impact did their decision to band tighter have on the outcome of their situation?
How much attention does the mining accident get at first? What things happen to bring increased public interest to their plight? At what point do the media and the world take an interest? How does their involvement turn the crisis into a moneymaking opportunity? Who profits and who loses from this change of approach? What things motivate you to become involved in a cause?
When the men have nothing, how easy is it for them to share? How does that change after they are found, and outside sources begin sending them food and various products? How are you affected by feelings of “ have and have not”?