Directed by Patricia Riggen
Screenplay by Mikko Alane, Craig Borten, Michael Thomas, and Jose Rivera
Music by James Horner
Produced by Alcon Entertainment and Phoenix Pictures
Released November 13, 2015
Based on the book Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, by Hector Tobar (2015)
Cast: Antonio Banderas (as Super Mario), Rodrigo Santoro (as Laurence Golborne), Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne, Lou Diamond Phillips, Cote de Pablo, Kate del Castillo, Mario Casas, Jacob Vargas
Filmed on location in Nemocón, Colombia at the San José Mine; Copiapó, Chile; Santiago, Chile at La Moneda Presidential Palace; and Tierra Amarilla, Chile
The 33 was filmed on location in Chile’s harshly remote yet stunningly beautiful Atacama desert, just kilometers away from where the event took place, and also in central Colombia, deep within two mines located there.
Hope Runs Deep
Discover the miraculous true story
In 2010, the eyes of the world turned to Chile, where 33 miners had been buried alive by the catastrophic explosion and collapse of a 100-year-old gold and copper mine. Over the next 69 days, an international team worked night and day in a desperate attempt to rescue the trapped men as their families and friends, as well as millions of people globally, waited and watched anxiously for any sign of hope. But 200 stories beneath the surface, in the suffocating heat and with tensions rising, provisions—and time—were quickly running out.
A story of resilience, personal transformation and triumph of the human spirit, the film takes us to the Earth’s darkest depths, revealing the psyches of the men trapped in the mine, and depicting the courage of both the miners and their families who refused to give up.
Based on the gripping true story of survival—and filmed with the cooperation of the miners, their families and their rescuers—The 33 reveals the never-before-seen actual events that unfolded, above and below ground, which became nothing less than a worldwide phenomenon. —Warner Bros. website
Dozens of people from Copiapó, Chile work in the San José mine. The owner ignores the warnings of the failing stability of the mine, which collapses a short time later. The only path inside the mine is completely blocked, and the thirty-three miners manage to get to the rescue chamber. They discover that the radio is useless, the medical kit is empty, the ventilation shafts lack the required ladders, and there is very little stored food. Mario Sepúlveda becomes the leader of the miners, dividing the foods rations and stopping the outbursts of violence and despair. The mine company does not attempt any rescue, and the relatives of the miners gather around the gates.
The government of Chile decides on active intervention, and orders the use of drills to reach the chamber. The first exploratory boreholes move off-target, but a later one reaches the required destination. The miners attach a note to the drill bit to announce their survival. They receive new food and clothing, and television communication with the surface. A second, bigger, drill system is prepared to retrieve the miners one by one.
There is drama and tension during the weeks before the successful rescue of all 33 miners, over two months after they became trapped. The story is derived from the August 2010 mine collapse and subsequent rescues in Copiapó, Chile. —Wikipedia
video: André tells us what we need to know
quotes from the film
The President of Chile: I need you up there, Sougarret. As soon as possible. Golborne is going to need help and everyone I speak to says you’re the best in the business.
André Sougarret: Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate it.
André : Now, assuming they’re alive, we’ve got thirty three men down there. They are running out of food and water, but there is adequate air…
What I do know is that, if we don’t get them up fast, we’re gonna be bringing up thirty three corpses…
There’s a less than one percent change of finding them. I need every drill that you can get your hands on.
André [on the phone to his wife]: This job is so much more complicated than I thought. I really wanted to be there for her birthday. Tell the girls I miss them so much.
André [to Golborne]: You see this diorite? Twice as hard as granite. This is the problem. We’re gonna need new drills.
Golborne: Okay, I can get you more drills, but we are running out of time. Why are you burning through them so quickly?
André: Listen, I don’t have six months to explain to you the complex geology of the Atacama Desert. You wanna be a miner?! Get a book. Read the basics–I got thirty three men down there I gotta worry about. You do what you need to do. Be a suit. Go talk to the media. Let me do my job.
André: This is becoming an impossible situation.
Golborne: Sometimes impossible situations take a little longer.
Golborne [after the drilling operation has stopped]: You called it off?
André: It wasn’t my decision.
André: It’s one hundred degrees down there! Do you know what that’s like? It’s a tomb!
André [to Golborne, who has a new idea]: Are you crazy? You’ll bring the mountain down on top of these men! Stop trying to think like— [he suddenly realizes the new idea is not so bad after all]
André: So simple
Golborne: Learn from your mistakes.
André: Aim to miss. Now you’re thinking like a miner.
The Note: We are all well in the Refuge–The 33.
Golborne: I knew you could to it.
André: We found them. Now we’ve got to get them out.
André: 700,000 tons of rock sitting just directly over their heads. It’s not a question of “if it falls,” but when.
André [to the miners]: I have to tell you that there is a real possibility that we can’t get you guys out. The guy who goes first is in the greatest danger. He may also be the only one to make it out. You decide who that will be.
André: On the count of three, begin the ascend.
video: Aim to miss
“The 33” is a technically impressive simulation of the mine collapse and rescue in Chile in 2010, a cataclysmic event that saw 33 miners trapped underground for a stupefying-seeming 69 days. Their plight became an international cause during that period, and their incredibly improbable rescue was a “whole world is watching” moment on a par with the first moon landing. The movie throws together an international cast that may on first glance strike the movie-savvy viewer as improbable as well: while the English-language production features Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips, two actors with obvious Latino bonafides in several departments, in key leading roles, it also has French actor Juliette Binoche and Irish actor Gabriel Byrne in prominent parts, both playing Chileans. It’s a testament to director Riggen’s skill with actors that she makes the ensemble a seamless one. Unless your objections to casting against conventional type are violent ones, there shouldn’t be a problem . . .
The ensuing action shows how the odds increased. There are a lot of characterizations, and a few character arcs, that the movie takes on, and Riggen doesn’t mind having to do sketches—a more thorough movie would have been, well a mini-series. But it’s a real accomplishment that she keeps the action coherent throughout, and she shows admirable daring at times. The impending starvation of the miners inspires a hallucination dinner scene that’s pretty audacious, and genuinely funny.
This unabashedly crowd-pleasing movie gets to its uplifting but also somewhat disquieting conclusion and coda (which, as is the custom these days, introduces the audience to the real-life miners) with its integrity intact. As such, it’s a pretty pleasant surprise, and in more than one way.
You wouldn’t believe it if it didn’t happen. In 2010, 33 Chilean miners found themselves trapped for 69 days in a gold and copper mine while the world bit its collective nails. Hollywood never has a good time trying to trump fact with the demands of popcorn-filmmaking. And The 33, well-staged by the Mexican director Patricia Riggen, still has to condense a big story into two hours.
A lot gets lost, despite the strained efforts of screenwriters Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten, and Michael Thomas. But the story holds us rapt…
The story’s political implications go curiously un-mined. Inspiration is what The 33 is selling. And it’s hard not to get caught up in the rescue. You forgive the movie its faults, or most of them, because its heart is firmly in the right place.
[This article is behind a paywall]
“The 33,” a new movie directed by Patricia Riggen from a screenplay by Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten and Michael Thomas, revisits the episode, effectively stirring up those emotions all over again and adding some new ones inspired by the lives of the miners and the challenge of bringing them out alive. In some ways, it’s foolproof material — moving and suspenseful even if you know the outcome. But Ms. Riggen, a Mexican-born filmmaker whose earlier features include “La Misma Luna” and “Girl in Progress,” has grappled with some formidable challenges, including the familiarity of the story. She also faced something of a numbers problem: 33 potential protagonists — as well as wives, sisters, children, government officials and engineers — is an awful lot to keep track of. To make matters trickier, most of those characters spend an awful lot of time confined in a small, stubbornly uncinematic space, not doing anything very dramatic.
But with the help of some solid performances and James Horner’s heart-squeezing, throat-constricting score (one of the last he composed before his death in June), “The 33” holds your attention and pushes the required buttons. It starts above ground, at an outdoor party where miners eat, drink, dance, impersonate Elvis Presley and engage in some necessary preliminary exposition. By the time they pile into the bus for work the next morning, we are acquainted with the most important figures. Once the earth shifts and a giant rock seals them into a refuge hundreds of feet down, we know the function each one will play.
A big-hearted, good-natured treatment of the rescue story that gripped the world
In this big-hearted, good-natured movie treatment of “the 33” and their ordeal, the media are not the villains. Neither are the politicians, not really. The bad guys would appear to be the mine’s owners who neglected safety, but their iniquities are not dwelt on. This is a feelgood disaster movie. . .
Gabriel Byrne plays a mining engineer who has to get them out and does everything except say: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking!”
It’s pretty hokey but likable, and the fantasy “last supper” scene is tear-jerking stuff.
Leah Greenblatt/Entertainment Weekly [This article is no longer available on the Internet]
The remarkable real-life story of the Copiapó collapse–the Chilean mining disaster that trapped 33 men more than 2,000 feet underground for 69 days in 2010–is adapted for the screen, with rocky results. Director Patricia Riggen corrals a sprawling international cast (Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne) and captures the event itself with harrowing visual impact; you may never go down to your basement again without a headlamp and a 10-day food supply. But the choice to shoot it all in English feels like an unfortunate bow to marketing demands, and the imperative to cover so many characters leaves little room for nuance. An inspired fantasy sequence midway through hints at the more intriguing movie The 33 might have been; instead, its tragedy-to-triumph narrative aims mostly for width, not depth. B-
Perma-tanned and with an accent that flits between South American Spanish and his native Irish, Gabriel Byrne is the man in charge of finding the needle in an haystack with the assistance of PR government man Rodrigo Santoro. The hodgepodge of an ensemble further includes Bob Gunton, inexplicably cast as Chilean president Sebastian Pinera. While all signs, and the odd TV personality, communicate in Spanish, the selection of a predominantly inglés-speaking cast and a script to match detract from the authenticity of The 33. Perhaps required to pander to an Anglophone audience wary of subtitles, the four man team who came up with the script have left it incongruous. The 33 does rumble towards an emotional release upon its climactic conclusion however it is exactly what you would expect it to be. Audiences will be drawn in to Riggen’s film by its triumphant story more than its execution but at times like this, a reminder of humankind’s innate resilience is not a bad thing.
Press Conference, Santiago, Chile January 31, 2014
Hollywood stars who will star in the upcoming film, “The 33” about the 33 Chilean miners who were dramatically rescued from a gold and copper mine met with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Santiago on Friday, January 31.
The cast and crew of the much anticipated film met with Pinera at the presidential palace.
Also present were a handful of the actual miners who were trapped deep in the mine shaft for nearly 70 days in 2010.
behind the scenes
the real Andre Sougarret
The San Diego Union-Tribune
VIVIAN SEQUERA, Associated Press Writer Oct. 15, 2010 3:08 PM
Three days after 33 men were sealed deep within a gold mine, Andre Sougarret was summoned by Chile’s president.
The Chilean leader got right to the point: The square-jawed, straight-talking engineer would be in charge of digging them out.
At first Sougarret worried – no one knew if the miners were alive, and the pressure was on to reach them. And he knew he would be blamed if the men were found dead “because we didn’t reach them or the work was too slow.”
But eventually, contact was made, the work was on, and the miners below were calling him “boss.”
In October 2014, renowned film composer James Horner began working on the music for the film. It was the second of two scores he would complete before his death on June 22, 2015.
Here is the complete score, provided by the James Horner Community on YouTube:
Listings for James Horner’s score:
1. The Atacama Desert
2. Empanadas for Darío
3. To the Heart of The Mountain
4. The Collapse
5. Buried Alive
6. Drilling, The Sweetest Sound!
7. Prayer – Camp Hope
8. The Drill Misses (And Dreams Fade…)
9. Gracias A La Vida – sung by Cote de Pablo
10. Aiming To Miss
11. We Are All Well in the Refuge, The 33
12. Always Brothers
14. First Ascent
16. Family Is All We Have
17. Al Final De Este Viaje En La Vida – Los Bunkers
18. The 33
19. Hope is Love
In Memoriam — James Horner
It may not have gotten as much attention as a lot of other films released during the final three months of 2015, but THE 33, directed by the Mexican-born female director Patricia Riggen, and based on the real-life experiences of thirty-three miners trapped by a cave-in inside a mountain in Chile’s Atacama Desert for sixty-nine days in the summer and fall of 2010 was one of the best films of the year. I would place it up with such superb “survival” films as ALIVE, APOLLO 13, and 127 HOURS. And a good reason why THE 33 succeeds is in a brilliant score by a Hollywood composer that the industry lost in June 2015 at much too early a time—James Horner.
One of the things that probably should be self-evident is that the setting of the story, in the Chilean desert at the foot of the Andes, would require a very ethnic score; and Horner, whose incredible list of credits include APOLLO 13, TITANIC, BRAINSTORM, AVATAR, PATRIOT GAMES, and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, was able to deliver brilliantly for Ms. Riggen. The score here has some typically brilliant orchestration, with most of it in minor keys, but there is some lush Spanish guitar playing done by George Doerning in a very authentic style, as well as the use of Andean pan flutes. A very important contribution is made here by Chilean-born actress/singer Cote de Pablo, who appears in the film as singer Jessica Vega in the scenes at Camp Hope, singing the much-covered “Gracias A La Vida”. And even if certain cues like “To The Heart Of The Mountain”, “The Collapse”, and “Buried Alive” seem like conventional action/suspense cues, they are nevertheless given the same amount of attention to detail as what Horner had already done for APOLLO 13, since the emphasis of THE 33 is not on testosterone, but on personal and psychological terror. This is something that is rarely done in a 21st century Hollywood more apt to follow box office dictates than story.
Horner took roughly the same approach done so brilliantly decades before by the late and underrated Jerry Fielding in his scores for Sam Peckinpah’s films THE WILD BUNCH and BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA, of putting in a very modernistic score that is also based on traditional music and rhythms of the indigenous and Latin American worlds in which these films were set (the same can be said for James Newton Howard’s score for the 1993 film ALIVE). The end result is a very haunting and flavorful score that is not heard a whole lot in Hollywood anymore, one that greatly emphasizes the story itself, as well as the culture of the part of the world it is set in.
Sadly, of course, it is also one of the last ones we will hear from Horner’s creative mind, as he perished in a plane crash in Ventura County, California on June 22, 2015, leaving a great big hole in the Hollywood film music community at a time when practically every “old guard” composer except for John Williams is gone. But just the same, his score for THE 33 is vigorously recommended for anyone with a taste for film music in general, and film music with an indigenous flavoring in particular.
The first words on the screen at the beginning of the film are:
‘Every year 12,000 miners die in work related accidents’
Mario Sepúlveda, one of the real 33 Chilean miners, met Antonio Banderas in Colombia during the first days of filming. Sepúlveda became supervisor of the extras for the movie.
Cote de Pablo, who portrays Jessica, was born in Santiago, Chile.
Jennifer Lopez was originally attached to this film, but a scheduling conflict made her participation impossible. Juliette Binoche took her role.
Anderson Cooper makes a cameo covering the rescue for CNN.
The last scene shows, in black and white, the real 33 miners gathered on a beach, and credits each of them individually.