Since the movie, The 33 is based on historic events, we do not concern ourselves with avoiding spoilers in either the discussion and show notes. If you haven’t seen it or are not familiar with the incredible tale of the 33 Chilean miners (okay, one of them was actually Bolivian…), PAY to go see The 33! The proceeds from the movie, and the book upon which the movie is based, support the rescued miners.
The 33 is the true life story of the 33 miners trapped underground in Chilean Copiapó mine accident on August 5th, 2010. In what feels like a significant departure from the normal Hollywood fare, The 33 stays remarkably close to the actual events of the Copiapó accident, with the only significant changes being for drama and length. Because a movie telling the individual stories of each of the 33 miners would be exceedingly long, they combined several stories, and even some people, into single characters for presentation’s sake. They also lightened the conditions in the refuge where the miners were trapped in order to make sure we could get the full effect of the performances. Without it, well more than half of the scenes would have been completely black.
Don’t just watch the movie!
There are a fair number of good, informative documentaries available for viewing if you want to learn more about the accident, the miners, or even the adaptation. Be sure to check them out!
We want to stress again that the 33 miners have not profited from their experience, and many of them are still struggling both financially and psychologically. It’s good to know that the money we spend on tickets to see the movie or money spent on the book, goes towards helping these men and their families get along in the world.
Creatively well done
The 33 was the last movie scored by James Horner before his untimely death in an airplane accident in June of 2015. One of the most prolific composers to grace the silver screen, Horner does an exceptional job with the score of The 33. In addition, while part of the movie soundtrack, though not part of the original score, Cote de Pablo does a great job with a soulful rendition of, “Gracias de la Vida”.
The movie’s creative team did a really good job balancing the creative need to modify the story to fit in the movie format while not sacrificing any of the spirit of the crisis.
Faith and hope
On of the many things that The 33 did well was showing how normal, working people lived their faith every day. When faced with certain death they depended on each other and on God. As one point, the brother of Maria, the woman who came to be known as the Mayor of Camp Hope, struggles through a crisis of faith, he cries, anguished, to the man that had become the spiritual shepherd of the 33, that he doesn’t, “know the words” to prayer. The other miner responds, “God doesn’t care.”
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans [8:26])
In an interview with Bob Waliszewski of Focus on the Family’s Plugged In the real life miner upon whom the spiritual leader of the movie was based on, Jose Henriquez, stresses that the movie, which did show some of the issues of faith that the miners faced, did not show enough.
As always, Plugged In is a great resource for family and faith centered movie reviews, and we heartily encourage you to take advantage of the resources that they offer! Check out the review of The 33.
By the end of the movie, it is clear that faith played a pivotal role in the miner’s survival. Faith in their coworkers, their friends, and their family. While the movie might have put a very fine point on it, their faith in God was as much a foundation for them as anything. For believers, faith is core to our daily lives as well; can you imagine facing a crisis like that of the 33 without our faith in our Heavenly Father?
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews [10:23])
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
The 33 is an emotional roller coaster for the viewer that barely taps the intensity of emotions felt (and suffered) by those involved. It’s tough to come at a historical event and keep the tension despite the fact that the audiences knows generally how everything turns out, but the creative team behind The 33 did an excellent job of storytelling. You may have heard the story, but you’ve never heard it like this.
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