THE DAY they started pulling the Chilean miners out of a collapsed mine in October 2010 was a very exciting day. It was one of those few news stories everybody was happy about. Afterward, the miners kept their story close to their chests; as a person who, in their shoes, would've eaten a gun long before the first guy had to poop, I was helplessly intrigued by them and thirsty for more info. The 33 is what I get for being greedy.
The dramatization starts with a party that introduces some of our heroes, including a delightful Lou Diamond Phillips and an extremely cheesy Antonio Banderas as designated group leader, Mario Sepúlveda. The miners' descent into the mine on that fateful day features some wonderfully spooky foreshadowing—they pass shrines to lost miners, ruined equipment, and broken mirrors that indicate a shifting mountain. And when shit starts hitting the fan—or collapsing into it, I guess—it's as loud and scary an action sequence as they come. Even though we know how it ends, The 33 is still nail-bitingly tense.
At least, it is for a while. Then Banderas gives one too many pep talks, and the film takes a Disney-esque turn away from what must have been much, much darker in reality. The miners still aren't sharing whatever major shit went down during the first 17 days of their ordeal, and this sanitized version gets less and less exciting as the film drags on. And just about everything has been dumbed down and glossed up for American audiences: The movie is in freaking English for christ's sake, with each brown-haired actor doing his or her own distracting version of a Chilean Spanish accent.
That's the problem with antsy people wanting a Hollywood treatment so soon after a real-life story. I might be on the same tube of mascara that I wiped from my cheeks back on that emotional day when they were all saved. The 33 doesn't come close to capturing how I felt watching it unfold in real time.