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Thirteen Lives - based on the Thai soccer team cave rescue - Amazon Prime August 5th

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/29/2022 at 6:44 AM, TheLeon said:

Looks promising, but the documentary (The Rescue) is so good, I don't know what they can really get out of telling this story again. 

This reminds me of the John Holmes and the Wonderland Murders documentary, and the Wonderland movie based on it starring Val Kilmer. The documentary was really good and pretty much made the movie unnecessary, especially since the movie wasn’t good. Val Kilmer was a poor casting choice to play John Holmes.

On 8/5/2022 at 7:15 PM, johnny said:

i don’t really have any desire to watch this 

11 hours ago, johnny said:

ok i watched it


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This is a pretty interesting case, because the movie is good. And part of what makes it good is that is pretty much sticks to the facts. There really isn’t anything all that “Hollywood” about it, other than bringing in a couple of big stars to play these dudes (and there are one or two quick “this is the Oscar clip” moments from them, but otherwise they are pretty quiet, grounded performances). So at that point, unless you just don’t like documentaries, there really isn’t much of a reason to watch this instead of The Rescue.

But you can’t really knock a movie for that, especially since the doc came out less than a year ago, so this movie was probably already in production. 

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I quite liked this for all the things that I expected it easily could have been but wasn't. I feel like if Ron Howard made this movie twenty+ years ago, this movie doesn't come out the same. It could have been bombast, instead it's quiet. It could have been entirely focused on the white saviors, instead it spends time with the locals and their contributions and sacrifices. It could have been showy, but instead it's understated all the way through.


This was a complicated story, and things were going to be cut one way or another, so I can't fault them too much for what they decided to lose. I think overall they did a good job of balancing where to spend time and what things to show.


As an experienced diver (who has only ever done a couple very open wrecks and never any small caves), I think they did an overall good job with the diving sequences, but I still wanted them to feel even more constricting. I'm not entirely sure what they could have done, just that I feel like it wasn't quite harrowing enough. I've done dives where the visibility dropped to a foot or less, literally unable to see my hand in front of my face. It was very temporary, lasting only a few minutes, and I was in familiar open water during the day, but it was the kind of claustrophobic situation that I know they experienced far worse in that cave. I don't know how you film the feeling of groping blindly through a cave with zero vis, but I don't feel like Howard quite nailed it.


I think there is a place for narrative films of events that may be better covered by a documentary. Howard's own Apollo 13 is maybe the best example of that I can think of. This film coming out so close to a a documentary while also being so somber probably hurts it in the short term, but I think it will be looked back on fondly, even if it eschews spectacle for humility.

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