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The 33


Stars: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Lou Diamond Phillips, Gabriel Byrne, James Brolin

Director: Patricia Riggen

In 2010, the whole world was glued to the plight of the 33 Chilean gold miners trapped hundreds of feet below the surface when their mine collapsed. Desperate attempts to reach them, using massive drills and some inspired guesswork, went on for weeks.

This recreation of those weeks, while the men laboured under temperatures of 90-plus and their food and water ran low, hits our emotional button so squarely that it's difficult to be objective about what the film actually achieves.

On the whole, though, this is a decent and respectful job, only marred by a scene in which the starving miners imagine themselves served a feast by their wives and partners. Not only does it not work, but it breaks up whatever suspense the director is mustering.

Still, we cannot help but be stirred by the real-life events, and Banderas and Phillips (long time, no see) do dedicated work as the miners' leaders.

Cote de Pablo, late of TV"s NCIS, who is actually Chilean, is one of their waiting women, and reveals a plaintively strong singing voice in one of the film's more atmospherically charged sequences.

David Quinlan

USA/Colombia/Chile 2015. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers . Colour (unspecified).
125 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 24 Jan 2016