On June 23, 2018, twelve soccer gamers and their coach turned trapped within the Tham Luang Nang Non collapse Thailand. 13 Lives tells the story of the rescue effort, starring Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell as two cave divers who enter the flooded cave to save lots of the boys. Those that bear in mind the worldwide information protection of the occasion or those that have seen the 2021 documentary The Rescue can have a data of this movie’s story that will result in a merely pleasurable expertise. Nonetheless, as somebody launched to the occasion by means of this movie, I discovered it to be a gripping, suspenseful movie that succeeds in recounting precise occasions.
This film involves us from Ron Howard, who proves himself to be one of many extra versatile administrators working in Hollywood. You’d by no means guess the identical individual directed A Lovely Thoughts, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Solo: A Star Wars Story. He has helmed phenomenal work up to now. Whereas he has currently had just a few fumbles with Inferno and Hillbilly Elegy, this movie is Howard’s return to type as a cinematically wealthy, riveting account of probably the most miraculous occasions in latest reminiscence.
Howard does phenomenal work on this movie, with shut consideration to sound design and a grounded have a look at this daring rescue. He makes use of music sparingly all through, providing lengthy moments of quiet suspense the place you’re feeling immersed at the hours of darkness, moist cave surroundings. His course enhances William Nicholson’s screenplay very effectively, as this film has a fast-paced first act, getting the story began instantly. That is the kind of movie that doesn’t current itself as flashy or trendy however feels extra like an goal have a look at all the things folks did to save lots of the boys trapped within the cave.
You’ll be able to simply overlook that you just’re watching a film, given how investing the story is. A part of that’s because of the performances, with the expertise of Mortensen and Farrell entrance and middle. Earlier this 12 months, these two did wonderful work in Crimes of the Future and The Batman, respectively, and seeing them collectively is a factor to behold as they vanish inside their characters. All the pieces about this movie feels naturalistic reasonably than showy, making a tone that works completely for the film’s occasions. Whereas the characters can generally be stored at arm’s size, the story is robust sufficient to maintain you watching.
Howard caters this movie to those that are unfamiliar with the occasions. He focuses extra on the rescuers than the boys caught within the cave, leaving audiences to wonder if they’re alive. This film builds stakes upon stakes, and as 13 Lives continues, it’s clear that the chances develop slimmer and slimmer that the boys will all make it out of the cave. There’s a ticking clock operating all through the film as Howard retains the viewers in tune with how lengthy the boys have been trapped for and the way lengthy it takes to swim into the cave.
At two and a half hours lengthy, the film can really feel like a heavy enterprise with time that could be higher spent watching The Rescue. Nonetheless, Howard does lots with this movie. A claustrophobic, suspenseful survival movie that is aware of learn how to inform its story, 13 Lives doesn’t get boring as soon as. The characters have a transparent goal, and you’ll be drawn into the thriller of how they are going to succeed of their objective. It is a fascinating story, and it’s one informed proper.
As ComingSoon’s evaluation coverage explains, a rating of 8 equates to “Nice.” Whereas there are just a few minor points, this rating implies that the artwork succeeds at its objective and leaves a memorable influence.
Disclosure: The critic attended a press screening for ComingSoon’s 13 Lives evaluation.