Star Cast: Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen, Tom Bateman, Sukollawat Kanarot, Shahajak Boonthanakit, Pattrakorn Tungsupakul, and ensemble.
Director: Ron Howard
What’s Good: The claustrophobia that the film manages to make the viewer feel. The underlying layers affect the entire operations and the subtle acting talent.
What’s Bad: In the attempt to create an undying mystery around the stuck kids the film doesn’t introduce us much to them. So our interest is never in the fact if they are safe, it is more in how will we reach them.
Loo Break: It’s on OTT. Pause. You are warned about some heart-wrenching scenes and moments though.
Watch or Not?: Watch it. Also, control your kids from doing obnoxious things that end up uniting 17 countries to rescue them.
Language: Thai and English (with subtitles).
Available on: Amazon Prime Video.
Runtime: 147 Minutes
12 kids from a football team one fine day in Thailand decided to visit the Tham Luang Cave in Tham Luang Khun Nang Non-Forest Park. Their coach joins them making the count 13. That too on a rainy day. The deep cave ends up flooding and they are stuck. This leads to over 5000 people from 17 countries coming together to save them and a technique that had my palms wearing.
Thirteen Lives Movie Review: Script Analysis
Survival dramas are a tricky genre. Like the whodunnit, there are only a few standard routes to final redemption. All you need to do is bring newness to kind of already traveled paths. And it is indeed a tough job. Thirteen Lives, based on a true incident is a great attempt at creating a movie that is not just about survival but many things that lead to it. Add to it the horror and you get a good film.
Story by Don MacPherson, William Nicholson, and screenplay by William, Thirteen Lives takes inspiration from a real-life incident that took 17 countries to sort out. Go online and read about the 13 people saved from the Tham Luang Cave and look at the severe nature of it all and what a scary adventure it was for the rescuers. It doesn’t even need visual documentation to tell you the haunting nature of it all.
So the trio who shapes the movie with director Ron Howard doesn’t try to add much drama to the already dramatic story. The source material is so intriguing that adding anything more would make it over the top. So they write this one as a documentary. You are introduced to the landscape and its geographical conditions of it as you begin. The focus is more on the setup than the characters because the biggest antagonist will be the landscape.
The movie delves deep into the Thai culture, its politics, the government that only tries to keep its side clean, a governor who has all the empathy but also a job that demands him to be brutal sometimes. There is a beautiful metaphor of a deity placed right outside the cave. She is the sleeping princess and they call the situation her wrath. The movie doesn’t try to delve deeper into metaphorical language. It works two ways. The bad part is that, it ends up giving it all one less layer. The good is that the focus remains on the rescue operation so you know what needs your attention in this movie.
There is two way in way the script looks at the boys stuck inside the cave. To create the mystery around whether they are alive or not, you see nothing of them from the initial 5 minutes till the very middle of the movie. And what bothers is the fact that they weren’t introduced in a way that you are connected to them anyways. So it is the rescuers that take the centre stage and the journey begins more intriguing. That dulls the impact when we see the kids finally.
Thirteen Lives Movie Review: Star Performance
There’s Collin Farrell here doing what he does best and creating a character that is so subtle yet impactful. Viggo Mortensen supports him and together they create hope in this world that is almost falling.
Shahajak Boonthanakit, Pattrakorn Tungsupakul, brings emotional depth to the story with their performance.
Thirteen Lives Movie Review: Direction, Music
Ron Howard follows his USP and manages to create a good amount of thrill and suspense. The filmmaker starts Thirteen Lives almost like a horror film. He gradually begins to shift into the documentary style and starts flashing the statistics on the screen only to show you the seriousness and intensity of it all. All in all, he manages to create a good film.
DOP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom makes you feel claustrophobic as he shoots the water-flooded cave. Even he sticks to showing the natural vibe and does not really add lights and unwanted elements to it. Benjamin Wallfisch adds more depth with his music.
Thirteen Lives Movie Review: The Last Word
This is a movie that educates you about an gut-wrenching tale from the real world. There are a lot of moments where you might skip a beat, but also ones that give hope. Watch it on Amazon Prime Video.
Thirteen Lives Trailer
Thirteen Lives releases on 05 August, 2022.
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