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The 33

Five years ago 33 mine workers were trapped in a Chilean gold and cupper mine in the Atacama desert. THE 33 is a straight forward dramatization of the spectacular rescue operation which ensued.


33 mine workers were trapped in a copper gold mine in the Atacama desert in Chile five years ago. They were stuck below 700 meters for 69 days while the entire world watched the spectacular rescue mission unfold. All of the miners survived. THE 33 dramatizes those events. The personal stories of the miners that are interwoven with the accident are merely rudimentary and functional: supervisor Luis knew about the mine’s defects but couldn’t convince those in charge, young Alex is about to become a father, and Yonni the casanova has a lover and a wife. However, it does work exceptionally well as a disaster drama, told in chronological order and with impressive camerawork. Even though the outcome is known, you still get jittery watching as the mine shafts collapse, as they find out there’s only enough provisions for three days, and as it becomes clear that the rescue ladders aren’t installed and the walkie-talkie isn’t connected. The families of the trapped workers unite in protest with resolute Maria (Juliette Binoche) at the helm and the state mining board takes over the rescue mission of the privately-run mine while the miners underneath divide the tiny ration of food and make it through 17 days. The situation seems ill-fated above and below when a drill finally penetrates the security room and makes contact. In the credits you find out that the miners of the San Esteban Mining Company were never compensated for what happened to them. We can only hope that they can make some money with this film adaptation.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: The 33
USA/Chile 2013, 127 min
Genre: Drama
Director: Patricia Riggen
Author: Jose Rivera
DOP: Checco Varese
Montage: Michael Tronick
Music: James Horner
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche
FSK: 12
Release: 11.02.2016


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