Thirteen Lives (2022) – The Film Reviews

Thirteen Lives is a film based on true events related to the famous rescue of twelve boys and their soccer coach from a cave Tam Luang in Thailand in 2018. He signs the direction Ron Hauardwhile he was in charge of the script William Nicholson. After a limited theatrical release, the film arrived on the servers of the Amazon Prime streaming service on August 5.

On June 25, 2018, twelve boys of the junior football team headed to the Tam Luang cave with their coach after training. That evening, a birthday celebration was organized for one of them, and when the parents realized that the boy was still missing, they headed to the cave to look for them. It will turn out that due to heavy rain, the cave is flooded and soon a large number of members of the state services and volunteers gather at the location. After Thai special forces fail to locate the boys, experienced British divers, pragmatic and antisocial Richard Stanton (Vigo Mortensen) and the warm and attentive John Volanten (Colin Ferrell).

This dramatization recounts the incredible true story of the enormous efforts of a large number of people to find and save the boys before the onset of the monsoon season that would completely submerge the cave. Faced with a seemingly impossible situation, a team of the most skilled and experienced divers in the world ventured into a maze of flooded, narrow cave tunnels filled with natural obstacles. With the stakes incredibly high and the eyes of the entire world on them, the team of divers showed great courage and the limitlessness of the human spirit in the most challenging dive of their careers.

Ron Howard presents this story to us without any embellishments and with a pronounced sense of clarity in terms of what happened, how and why it all happened, as well as in depicting how uncertain and difficult it was to save that football team. The scenario is largely filled with geography, geology, various engineering and diving processes, and organizing a vast network of government officials, military personnel, and civilian volunteers into what appears to be a single organism. Maybe all this sounds too technical, but this story is like that in itself, and it’s great that it stayed like that in this film – I wasn’t familiar with the specifics of the rescue operation, and I didn’t get too much media coverage of it when it was all unfolding.

The authors know exactly how to translate all these technical things into an interesting drama full of tension. The film, in a meticulous but subtle way, gradually reveals one question, then another, and then a dozen more related to the concrete procedure of rescuing the boy. First of all, there is the distance from the place where the boys are captured to the safety of the vacated chamber, and to begin with, no one even knows where that first location actually is. There is a question of time as each expedition takes several hours from the cave entrance to anywhere in the cave itself. The authors simply communicate these facts to us by accompanying each maneuver of the divers with a two-dimensional map of the cave and the time it took them to reach a certain location, which has no value in the big picture because the trapped boys are not there.

Each sequence in which the divers maneuver through confined spaces, water full of debris and rocks that leave cuts is excellent at creating tension, even though we know how this story will end. I felt claustrophobic listening to the air the divers were gulping and the oxygen bottles hitting the rocks. The obstacles are not only of a physical nature as the biggest of them is that the boys are not prepared to do any diving to be rescued. One of the workers at the water pump panicked after a relatively short dive – how could a child, let alone thirteen of them, survive a longer, more dangerous swim? During the film, Rick and John together with local officials try to answer that question.

Along the way, the script spends time with the families of the boys, whose hope turns to frustration and despair, then back to hope, as well as the volunteers who made superhuman efforts to divert the water that flowed from the mountain into the cave into the rice fields. Their work gives us a broader insight into how much time, effort and sacrifice so many people have spent on saving lives. Howard’s intense focus on realism and authenticity keeps melodrama to a minimum, and because of that, the tension feels organic and, ultimately, our emotions are earned.

Thirteen Lives is a captivating and moving dramatization of an incredible true story driven by emotionally stirring realism and a deep respect for everyone involved in this rescue.

my final rating: 10/10

Source: The Filmske Recenzije by

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