Cinematic Releases: The 33

Antonio Banderas sees the light with The 33.

"What kind of night club is this?"
The true story of 33 trapped Chilean miners comes to theaters this weekend in a vivid portrayal of human endurance and emotional upheaval. 

Through stunningly real portrayals that hinge on a feverish Antonio Banderas and a captivating Lou Diamond Philips, The 33 manages to scare up the intensity that Everest failed to produce in its mediocre presentation of story. Sticking mainly to the dramatic facts and the political interference that helped save all of the trapped miners, the film rests wholeheartedly on a terrific script and grand performances that never fail in their reverence for creating hyper realism in a dire situation. What could have easily been turned into a sloppy made for TV or direct to video movie ends up being one of the better films of 2015, if not a little melodramatic at times. 

Resting firmly on a charismatic performance from Banderas, the true story of the 33 directly links their humanized back story to the emotional weight of being trapped thousands of feet under ground with little chance of a rescue. With Banderas leading the charge, the other support players bring realistic portrayals that highlight their mortal fears, their humorous brotherhood, and the heart tugging events that still tie them together to this very day. As the main focal point of The 33, Banderas is back in form, out performing himself with the best and most earnest role of his career. With a support system rooted in the talents of a reinvigorated Lou Diamond Philips, Juliette Binoche, Rodrigo Santoro, Gabriel Byrne, and Bob Gunton, the acting is nearly flawless despite the strange casting decisions. False accents are dropped from front to back which is a definite distraction, but the performances are strong enough to not destroy the historical relevance of this amazing story. 

"Listen here! I haven't had a hit
since La Bamba! You're not taking this
from me, pal!"
If anything, The 33 is a great tale of the human spirit and how teamwork, dedication, and love can transcend when we're pitted against terrible odds and/or the inevitability of death. With realistic visuals, seamless looking environments, just enough exposition, and a powerful cast, The 33 takes this true story and makes it a vital piece of entertainment that families could share together. Although there are a few moments of adult humor that might fly right over kid's heads, The 33 captures the best and worst of the men that survived this disastrous event and could instill a new found respect for all the things we take for granted in our everyday lives.  

If you're a fan of true stories that deliver profound messages of hope and courage, The 33 will speak to you. Despite some short sighted areas and some odd casting, this is one of the better movies I've seen this year. Hopefully it will bring Banderas out of the shadows and back into the light of being a great leading man. He absolutely shines when given good material to work with. 



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