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Thirteen Lives

To give one example of how Howard misses the opportunity to rivet us on an emotional level, watch the scene where Rick and John first encounter the thirteen people trapped in the cave. As soon as the divers emerge from the water, the reveal that everyone is alive is completely botched. The establishing shot of everyone is uncomfortably garish. Rather than offer immediate support, the divers start taking videos of these starving folks who have been in the cave for ten days. This should have been an emotional shot in the heart, yet it feels as cold as all that cave water.

Thirteen Lives

Superheroes may dominate kids' entertainment, but director Ron Howard superbly showcases real heroes who pull off an extraordinary feat to save lives. The plight of the Wild Boars boys' soccer team -- trapped deep in a cave with no feasible method of escape -- seems ripped straight from the comics, where only a superpowered caped crusader could save them. There's even a supernatural element: According to folklore, the spirit of the mythical Princess Jao Mae Nang Non guards the cave, her statue marking the entrance, and locals believe she had a hand in the surprise flash flood. Howard's retelling is more grounded than an Avengers movie but no less sensational -- and far more impactful. These heroes are authentically brave, powered by decades of acquired specific knowledge, calculated collaboration, and selflessness.

One formidable problem is that the filmmakers have found no characters who can help establish a point of view or emotional ballast. The most obvious candidates would be Richard Stanton and John Volanthen, the two British cave-divers who first found the stranded soccer team four kilometers from Tham Luang\u2019s mouth and then spearheaded the audacious plan to extract them safely. But putting too much emphasis on Stanton and Volanthen would promote a White Savior narrative that\u2019s both unsavory and ignorant of the larger picture. It would be unfair to short change the heroism of Ekkaphon Chanthawong, the 25-year-old assistant coach who took care of the boys underground, or the Thai Navy SEALs who risked their lives, including one who died of asphyxiation while delivering diving cylinders to a cave chamber. And that\u2019s to say nothing of the steadfast political leadership, the desperate parents, or the massive effort to divert monsoon water from the cave.

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It's not hard to see why Ron Howard would want to direct Thirteen Lives, the ripped-form-the-headlines true adventure of the band of cave divers who volunteered to rescue the Wild Boar football team and their coach from the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Thailand in 2018. The story undoubtedly resonates with arguably his greatest cinematic success, 1995's space mission drama Apollo 13. Both are stories about calm, quiet men trying to solve a problem upon which lives depend - lives at a distance that is both oddly close and yet impossibly far.

In the case of the Tham Luang cave rescue, the distance is only a few miles, but it's through a flooded, unmapped cave complex. Equally vast is the number of people involved in the rescue, so (in no small part due to the complex rights issues surrounding real life events) for narrative convenience Thirteen Lives settles towards the grumpy realist Richard Stanton (Mortensen) and the gentler if no less clear-eyed John Volanthen (Farrell). Two of the first rescue divers on the scene, they're treated with a degree of suspicion on arrival: after all, if the entire Thai nation can't get 13 kids out of a flooded cave, what do these two pale, soft-spoken foreigners think they can do? Well, as events turned out, rescue all 12 teams members and their coach. This is what they do: upend their very average lives to fly around the world and risk their lives in cave complexes to save people.

What may be most astounding about Thirteen Lives is that it feels like a nail-biting 90 minutes, not the gently flowing two and a half hours it is. This isn't simply brisk, it's non-stop. And there's nothing self-indulgent about it. Instead, Howard (pardon the double oxygen and confinement pun) gives everyone's story space to breathe. That's how he avoids this becoming a white savior narrative about a bunch of British and Australian dudes bravely risking their lives to save these Thai boys: although ultimately that is exactly what happened - the international team kept diving after the Thai SEALs were called off. But this isn't some testosterone fantasy. The SEALs stopped diving because they were not the right divers for this, and had lost one of their own in the caves, and the pain in their eyes as they are forced to step aside is obvious. (Howard makes sure to dedicate the film to both Saman Kunan, the retired SEAL who drowned, and a second SEAL, Beirut Pakbara, who died of an infection acquired in the cave two years later.) Outside, the families are given time, as is the incredible work of Thanet Natisri (Boonya), the water engineer from Chicago who just happened to be in Bangkok and ended up running a massive operation that diverted tens of millions of gallons of water from the hillside onto nearby farmland. Howard even gives tribute to the farmers that agreed to let their fields be flooded.

"In a rational world, we should care twice as much about a tragedy affecting 100 people as about one affecting 50. We ought to care 80,000 times as much when a tragedy involves 4 million lives rather than 50. But Slovic has proved in experiments that this is not how the mind works.

While the rescue divers themselves are given variably stoic parts to play, the bulk of the emotional work comes both from the boys' parents and the self-sacrificing local community. The parents' believably distraught reactions and frenzied search for answers and solutions form much of the story's emotional work. It's a strong choice from the filmmaker to center the bulk of its weight on the community, forcing the film to decenter the visiting protagonists somewhat while it refuses to treat the besieged local community as unimportant to the film's events. At the same time, it would have been a welcome pivot to spend more time with both the boys and their frantic families. While we begin with the young football troupe, the film's focus as more of a ticking-clock thriller necessitates that we don't see the trapped thirteen much at all, except where they're interacting with rescuers. While "Thirteen Lives" is already on the longer side, it would have further ramped up the emotional stakes to allow us to get to know the boys more before the crisis and to follow their fear and harrowing survival within the caves more pointedly. While the film's centering on the community as a whole is successful, there are surely some opportunities for greater depth of emotion.

"Thirteen Lives" boasts a number of virtues on the technical side of things that are worth highlighting. Mukdeeprom's cinematography centers the audience within the region's beauty and the community's lives in a way that grounds the narrative well. As the rescue divers proceed through the caves, the camera slides through the darkened waters of the caves' depths, capturing claustrophobic angles of the rescuers navigating the treacherous terrain. It lands the danger and complexity of the rescue operation in a visual, properly cinematic way that puts us in the actors' flippers. If one of the tried-and-true elements of proper cinematic storytelling is the much-stated commandment to "show, don't tell," it's clearly the ethos that Howard is going for in "Thirteen Lives," and Mukdeeprom's ability to ground the audience both in the community and in the rescuer's subjectivity excels here.

"Thirteen Lives" is a film that truly orients itself around a grounded cinematic approach to story, one largely told without big, grandstanding emotional speeches but instead focused on visually capturing subjectivity, demonstrating tension, and highlighting the life-or-death weight of the characters' choices. It's an approach that succeeds overall, though a little more time with the boys, their frantic families, and a bit deeper window into the central characters' inner lives would have hit the story's tension and impact a little harder home. Nonetheless, it's a fine drama with adept performances that are sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

Colin Farrell stars in \"Thirteen Lives,\" Ron Howard's film about the real-life story of 12 boys and their soccer coach after they become trapped in a labyrinth of caves in Thailand. In a July 28 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Farrell opened up about the impact the process of making the movie had on his mental health. \n\"Terrifying in a word. Terrifying,\" Farrell said of his experience filming the underwater scenes. \"It really was \u2014 it was scary. I'm not a great swimmer anyway, not that we were swimming, not that we were treading water, we had to stay on the surface, but they built a really impressive network of caves, it was about four or five different caves that were based on the topography of the caves, the Tham Luang caves in Thailand, and they filled them full of water, and we'd go down and there was no up.\"\nThe intensely realistic filming conditions presented a brand-new, psychologically challenging experience for Farrell. \"I mean, there's a lot to be said for being able to look up in water and see the surface, so when you can't and there's actually a ceiling over your head, and there's no air at all, it just wreaks havoc on my mind,\" he added. \"It's a very particular thing, and we replicated it as close as we could.\" Filming led him to have \"panic attacks underwater,\" he said. \"That's a new experience.\" \nBut with the help of a team of trained divers \u2014 who said \"Thirteen Lives\" was the most dangerous underwater film they had ever done \u2014 he made it through. 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Tom Bateman plays Chris Jewell, a computer software consultant and diver.\nMeanwhile, Sahajak Boonthanakit plays Chiang Rai province Acting Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn, and Teeradon Supapunpinyo plays Ekkaphon Chanthawong, the 25-year-old assistant soccer coach and monk who helped the boys survive in the cave as they waited to be rescued.\n","id":48905115,"type":"image","photo_source":"Image Source: YouTube user Prime Video","permalink":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/photo-gallery\/48905053\/image\/48905115\/Thirteen-Lives-Cast","canonical":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/thirteen-lives-movie-48905053","share_text":"\"Thirteen Lives\" Cast","use_tall_image":false,"omit_from_countdown":false,"caption_num":false,"slide_tags":"MoviesAmazon Prime Video","image":"https:\/\/\/files\/thumbor\/qjcEPZiEXMxeblkOpKdDB7mkdms\/fit-in\/1024x1024\/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-\/2022\/08\/01\/769\/n\/1922283\/b706cdf7a278b55e_Screen_Shot_2022-08-01_at_10.27.40_AM\/i\/Thirteen-Lives-Release-Date.png","share_image":"https:\/\/\/files\/thumbor\/E1DVZ9M5TUKApuI6ymdYIqx7lfg\/fit-in\/2048xorig\/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-\/2022\/08\/01\/769\/n\/1922283\/b706cdf7a278b55e_Screen_Shot_2022-08-01_at_10.27.40_AM\/i\/Thirteen-Lives-Release-Date.png","title":"\"Thirteen Lives\" Release Date","intro_text":false,"body":"\"Thirteen Lives\" released in select theaters on July 29 and will begin streaming on Amazon Prime on Aug. 5.\n","id":48905117,"type":"image","photo_source":"Image Source: YouTube user Prime Video","permalink":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/photo-gallery\/48905053\/image\/48905117\/Thirteen-Lives-Release-Date","canonical":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/thirteen-lives-movie-48905053","share_text":"\"Thirteen Lives\" Release Date","use_tall_image":false,"omit_from_countdown":false,"caption_num":false,"slide_tags":"MoviesAmazon Prime Video","embed_html":"","embed_link":"https:\/\/\/embed\/R068Si4eb3Y","share_image":false,"title":"\"Thirteen Lives\" Trailer","intro_text":false,"body":"","id":48905114,"type":"text","photo_source":"","permalink":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/photo-gallery\/48905053\/embed\/48905114\/embed","canonical":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/thirteen-lives-movie-48905053","share_text":"\"Thirteen Lives\" Trailer","use_tall_image":false,"omit_from_countdown":false,"caption_num":false,"slide_tags":"MoviesAmazon Prime Video","content":"\n \n \n \n \n Up Next\n \n \n \n \"The Batman\" Is a Hit \u2014 but Who's His Next Nemesis?\n \n\n\n\n Image Source: Everett Collection\n","type":"end_screen","permalink":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/who-will-be-villain-in-batman-sequel-theories-48740970","image":"https:\/\/\/files\/thumbor\/A_pcUNChiT2Ps6C-YP3YO-5Cme8\/322x0:2322x2000\/fit-in\/1024x1024\/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-\/2022\/03\/05\/048\/n\/48559432\/9e71a9376223fbf7822172.17511332_\/i\/who-will-be-villain-in-batman-sequel-theories.jpg"], "tweet":"Colin Farrell Says Making \"Thirteen Lives\" Gave Him \"Panic Attacks\"","next":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/who-will-be-villain-in-batman-sequel-theories-48740970","prev":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/pete-davidson-movies-48905568","slideCount":4,"isCPC":false,"disableInterstitials":true,"tweetText":"Colin Farrell Says Making \"Thirteen Lives\" Gave Him \"Panic Attacks\"","pinterestImage":"https:\/\/\/files\/thumbor\/3WlfoY-oORaWN4BMfisqug3MhKU\/2248x0:4248x3000\/fit-in\/2000x3000\/filters:format_auto-!!-:strip_icc-!!-\/2022\/08\/01\/755\/n\/1922283\/cfeb8dbc62e808465c1382.36528808_.jpg","galleryURL":"https:\/\/\/entertainment\/thirteen-lives-movie-48905053", ]); want more? 041b061a72


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