Thirteen Livesarriving today on Prime Video, it is a production that could attract negative opinions only for the genre to which it belongs. On the other hand, in the panorama of survival and drama films there are no works that stand out and shine, unless you go back twelve years, James Franco is uncomfortable and you don’t talk about 127 hours, maybe with that know-it-all tone that is now all the rage when it comes to old movies, dated or retired. For those unfamiliar with this story, just know that it tells a fact that really happened, and that in common with Thirteen Lives there is a tragedy that has been avoided by a miracle. The film, directed by a brilliant Ron Howard, takes us back to 2018, at the height of the monsoon period, in hot and humid Thailand, which we have visited on other occasions. Who remembers The Beach with Leonardo Di Caprio?
Thirteen Lives, we want to clarify it, it is obviously sadder than The Beach because, as we mentioned before, it tells of a tragedy that took place five years ago that involved twelve young players and their coach who were stuck inside a cave after they tried to explore it to the bottom. However, due to the water and torrential rains, the basin filled up quickly, preventing the Thai soccer team from turning back.
The Tham Luang incident, followed by television broadcasters from all over the world, kept not only the parents of the children in suspense but anyone who followed their stories with apprehension, from mobile to tablet. Sixteen days inside a cave without water and much less food would put anyone in difficulty, but the kids, supported by their coach and by the rescuers from all over the globe, have strengthened each other, resisting the darkness of the cave.
We might think that Thirteen Lives is in fact a film focused on them, but instead focuses on the rescuers, on the best ways to save the kids to get them out of that oppressive darkness. A complex mission and not for everyone, which however must take place before it is too late, because the risk that the gorge can completely fill with water is real. Right from the start we realized what the seriousness of the situation was by the experts and the context, while it was explained and deepened, appearing to us even more clear and better defined. It is a mission suitable for a few, a mission that not everyone can undertake, because death may not come only for those kids but also for those who have chosen to risk their lives. And the situation, of course, is not the best.
“Whoever saves one life saves the whole world” (Talmund, Babylonian text)
Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, two British rescuers, volunteer to find and get the kids out of the cave before it fills up. risking everything and everything. Richard is played by an excellent Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings), while John gives a convincing Colin Farrell (The Batman), collaborating with each other to offer a first level acting that has been able to give us two and thirty of real entertainment, literally making us feel anxious for them.
In such films they are complex roles to play, because you need sensitivity and knowledge of the subject: Ron Howard he was able to exploit the talent of the two actors and to propose a compelling story, capable of keeping you glued to the screen and aiming to make you feel tension, fear and anxiety, feelings that each of the volunteers and rescuers felt on their skin. The film could simply focus on the survivors, give a vision of the whole that involved their despair and left the rest aside; instead he spoke in depth about his protagonists, who in true history have lost much more of their life and still experience those traumas today.
We think of Saman Kunan, played by Sukollawatt Kanarot, who sacrificed himself to save those children and the many rescuers who, due to the injuries sustained in the cave, they died of various infections. As the plot progressed and the risk of losing the kids became more concrete, the camera moved directly to the meetings and decisions to be made, as if Ron Howard wanted to tell without leaving anything out. It was a smart choice, because he showed us directly what really happened, especially with the interference of politics, who wanted those kids out of that hell at any cost, not calculating the risks and potential losses.
Richard and John, in this sense, have often reiterated that patience was the weapon to get them out but the parents, increasingly worried, had not given up on the idea that it was better to move as quickly as possible: their despairwhich in the film is as tangible and sharp as a sharp rock in the cave, we perceive it from the first moment. The emotions in fact take over, giving further depth to the film, which is managed with intelligence and without any errors that could make the most demanding ones turn up their noses.
Thirteen Lives it is not the first film on the events of the Tham Luang accident and the risk of creating a work without originality was really around the corner, yet Ron Howard was able to keep everything well stuck, which is no small thing account given the genre of the film. Also joining the cast is a brilliant Joel Edgerton (Obi-Wan Kenobi) as Richard Harris, a high-risk situation expert who has worked with Richard for some time. The narrative rhythm, which never loses its depthis pressing and engaging, not groping but staging a convincing and exciting final result.
The risk that it could be the classic drama was actually tangible, especially for the subject matter, which is not new in Hollywood but has never been treated with so much care and respect for the events that really happened. We are not only witnessing brilliant interpretations, but even the study of the cave with expert geologists who came from some countries of the world to save those kids and take them away, as if everyone had stopped, stopped running and decided to help someone not to a fee, but to save him and that’s it. The moral of the story is this: never give up, not even a prison made of rock and sharp stones.
A moving tale: Thirteen Lives is everyone’s story
Very often we ask ourselves what message films and television series hold, and how they are treated by directors, whether with passion and intelligence, or in a predictable and forgettable way. The second is not the case with Thirteen Lives, because the direction manages not to bore and to keep glued to the screen, making us feel the weight of those moments as if we were inside the screen.
What happened in Thailand, in fact, could have directly affected us as it happened with the parents of the children, che didn’t know if they would ever hug them again. The most moving dialogues, in this sense, are precisely those between the experts and relatives, with some of them who have even lost hope and ask only for the body of their child. This is an example that represented a real boulder, which Ron Howard has decided to insert to better understand the gravity of the situation, now more and more delicate after every hour.
He could have been satisfied, leaving out the rescuers and their fears, and instead involved them, talking directly about them and the plan to save the kids, choosing a different approach, which to us pleasantly impressed and convinced us from start to finish. arriving at its goal. It is a film recommended for anyone looking for a faithful representation of the events that took place in Tham Luang with a stellar cast and a director who takes all the risks of the case, packaging a detailed work. We couldn’t have asked for better.