True Story of ‘The 33’ Unable to Dig Out of Poor Production Value

Photo Courtesy of David Shankbone, Wikipedia

"The 33" puts audiences in a constant state of sadness, as it depicts the real calamity of the 33 miners who were trapped thousands of feet under the earth after a mine shaft collapsed in August 2010. This immense mining accident shook the entire world to its core.

The film is directed by Patricia Riggen, with a screenplay written by Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten and Michael Thomas. Interestingly, although the outcome is known, the movie keeps its viewers suspended throughout.

“The 33” takes viewers up close to the miners trapped down below and their family members who anxiously wait in a temporary camp near the mine’s opening. It vividly depicts the changes that occur in humans when they are at their lowest – with a limited food supply and little hope of survival. “The 33” also shows the naked and harsh truth of how governments and companies usually react to tragic accidents.

Riggen keeps a good balance of depicting what the miners and families go through, how the government and the mining company responsible act and the efforts of the rescuers. The movie starts off with the miners enjoying their everyday lives and slowly transitions into the dangers and reality of the mining industry. The company is quick to give up the effort to save their trapped employees. The president is quick to distance himself because the accident is not from a government organization. Families cannot help but distrust the government because of its late and mediocre response.

“The 33” is not a documentary, but realistic fiction. However, the overall production of the movie is on the flimsy side. What keeps audiences’ attention is the film’s “based on a true story” status and the actors’ phenomenal performances. The transitions in between the scenes of the “outside” world and in the mine were oftentimes choppy. Also, especially near the end, the sudden change of scene and music severely interrupted the reassuring and triumphant feelings that the audience was experiencing, as the men were initially found, and then finally physically rescued from the mine.

It was evident at times that the producer and screenwriter did not want the movie to be completely gloomy. They did add humorous aspects here and there, such as the little episodes that occur between one of the miner’s wife and mistress. However, many of the scenes felt irrelevant to the flow of the entire movie.