The 33 review – feelgood take on the Chilean mining disaster

Antonio Banderas plays the trapped miners’ leader in a big-hearted, good-natured treatment of the rescue story that gripped the world

Six years ago, the Chilean San José mining disaster left 33 men trapped underground; the whole world was gripped and the 93-year-old Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas remarked that he was reminded of his movie Ace in the Hole, in which he played an unscrupulous reporter covering a similar situation, scheming to delay the rescue and spin the story out.

In this big-hearted, good-natured movie treatment of “the 33” and their ordeal, the media are not the villains. Neither are the politicians, not really. The bad guys would appear to be the mine’s owners who neglected safety, but their iniquities are not dwelt on. This is a feelgood disaster movie.

Antonio Banderas plays Mario Sepúlveda, the guy who becomes the trapped miners’ unofficial leader in their subterranean hellhole. Clean-cut Rodrigo Santoro plays presidential aide Laurence Golborne, Juliette Binoche is borderline preposterous in the role of a miner’s downtrodden sister, and Gabriel Byrne plays a mining engineer who has to get them out and does everything except say: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking!”

It’s pretty hokey but likable, and the fantasy “last supper” scene is tear-jerking stuff.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The 33 review – historic rescue minus the drama
Cod Latino accents don’t help this account of the 2010 rescue of 33 trapped Chilean miners

Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

31, Jan, 2016 @8:00 AM

Article image
The 33 review – solidly made but cumbersome chronicle of Chilean miners' miraculous rescue
The ordeal of 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine in 2010 attracted the world’s media. That story demonstrated the indomitable human spirit in a way this Hollywood film version doesn’t match

Andrew Pulver

09, Nov, 2015 @6:08 PM

Article image
Antonio Banderas to star in film about trapped Chilean miners
Spaniard will play Mario Sepúlveda, public face of the 33 men involved in 2010 mining accident, in Patricia Riggen's new film

Ben Child

20, May, 2013 @11:48 AM

Article image
Jennifer Lopez joins starry cast for Chilean miners movie

Antonio Banderas and Martin Sheen already signed up to appear in The 33, based on true-life tale of rescued miners, writes Ben Child

Ben Child

18, Jun, 2013 @12:20 PM

Article image
Chilean miners say they were cheated out of profits from Hollywood film
Miners are suing lawyers for bad contracts ahead of release of The 33, which stars Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche and depicts their 69-day ordeal

Jonathan Watts Latin America correspondent

03, Nov, 2015 @5:27 PM

Article image
The trapped Chilean miners are a little close to Billy Wilder for comfort

Peter Bradshaw: We should heed Wilder's warning in Ace in the Hole, his 1951 satire about a hack who will do anything to keep his story alive

Peter Bradshaw

25, Aug, 2010 @8:25 AM

Article image
The 33 trailer: watch Antonio Banderas in the Chilean miners' rescue film
The story of the rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped in a collapsed mineshaft has – inevitably – become a film, starring Antonio Banderas

Guardian film

29, Jul, 2015 @5:28 PM

Article image
Brad Pitt may helm Chilean miners film

Actor's company said to be in talks on exclusive deal which could see some of the rescued men given roles

Xan Brooks

15, Nov, 2010 @7:43 PM

Article image
Brad Pitt 'offers millions' for Chilean miners story
Hollywood star reported to be in race for screen rights to tale of 'Los 33', but rival movie already being pushed into production

Ben Child

15, Nov, 2010 @11:42 AM

Article image
Black Gold – review

If there's going to be a cinematic Arab Spring, Jean-Jacques Annaud's clunky oil epic isn't it, writes Andrew Pulver

Andrew Pulver

23, Feb, 2012 @9:50 PM