The 33 is the type of film that audiences will want to love. Filmmakers probably wouldn’t be averse to such adoration either.
However, this tale of 33 Chilean miners, which opens Friday (Nov. 13), lacks something. It possesses all of the elements for a first-rate drama, but the emotional connection that anyone would expect to make doesn’t exist.
That very well may come from the fact that the audience knows the outcome. No real drama builds because of that. It could also be because there is no one character – despite the presence of Antonio Banderas in a prime role – grabs us.
The fact that the movie is about 33 as opposed to two or three or even four make all the difference. That, however, doesn’t mean the effort isn’t there. It attempts to do justice to a story that captured international headlines five years ago.
As the team of screenwriters and director Patricia Riggen, a relative newcomer, take the audience to through the rigors of a group of men surviving months on rations meant to last for a far shorter time, they attempt to delve deeper into the groups backgrounds from the recovering alcoholic, to the family man (Banderas) who only wants to return to his wife and child.
The problem: none of those stories capture the attention or imagination. They feel rather pedestrian with respect to execution leading to a rather muted emotional response.
That leaves the rescue attempt for which the filmmakers can make hay. That in itself should provide its share of drama, no? Not really. No one wants any tension or drama to come any other way but organically, but The 33 is remarkably bereft of it.
What is there to take from it? A nice Banderas performance. He shows that he still has the chops to deliver in a significant role. Beyond that only Juliette Binoche as the estranged sister of one of the men provides anything to enjoy.
Riggens direction is confident, but the execution may be somewhat off. It could be the script or any number of things, but The 33 comes up short.
Movie: The 33
Director: Patricia Riggens
Cast: Antonio Banderas
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated: PG-13 for a disaster sequence and some language.
Running time: 127 minutes
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com