Ron Howard's biographical survival film Thirteen Lives is a no-nonsense movie

Ron Howard's biographical survival film Thirteen Lives is a no-nonsense movie ...

The cave rescue of Thai children trapped in Tham Luang will always be a testament to humanity's ability to overturn impossible odds. Back in the summer of 2018, the group of children aged 11-16 decided to go into a local cave to commemorate the birthday of one of their teammates. Unfortunately, the monsoon season, typically set from July to November, comes early and the cave is completely flooded, trapping the boys and their coach inside the vast and labyrinthian cave system.

The outcome of this rescue is remarkable on its own, and the 18-day story kept the world at the edge of their seats. It's a miracle that all of the children and their coach were saved, with the whole rescue costing only two lives. Thirteen Lives is a collection of short stories that Ron Howard manages to pull off with a few glitches.

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin directed and produced The Rescue, which I saw at a film festival last year, as a form of perspective and comparison. Does the film depict the actual-life divers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen in the real-life? Does the film detail how difficult and difficult the task of removing the boys from the cave one by one is?

Thirteen Lives was able to deliver all of the answers correctly. Mortensen, particularly as Stanton, who is somewhat emotional and prickly, is able to appreciate Stanton's feelings in all their complexity. If anything, his ability to emotionally distance himself from the terrible situation works in his favor.

It does feel like this video is a disaster. However, the rights to the story of this cave rescue are much more complex than you might expect. We see glimpses at the parents, especially Pattrakorn Tungsupakul, a single mother of one of the younger boys in the group, and then with Thai volunteers and locals on the mountain who work to prevent more water from filling the cave, even if it means sacrificing their harvesting for the year.

Several of the children and the coach who were trapped in the cave are stateless, which means they do not have access to Thai citizens' basic rights and benefits, and it's difficult for the public to fully understand the fear they had for their children who had no nationality or citizenship.

Netflix is said to own rights to the kids' stories, but without the perspective of the families and the children, the film runs into the danger of appearing too much like a story about white saviors, and without Brits like Stanton and Volanthen's expertise, Thirteen Lives is a bit incomplete.

The claustrophobic cinematography of Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Call Me by Your Name) shines through here. Even the most experienced Thai Navy SEALs are ill-equipped to handle the tough dives. The task of rescuing the children from the cave, swimming through the 4 kilometers of the cave, seems like a death sentence.

Howard's no-nonsense approach to Thirteen Lives is what makes it such a popular film due to its realistic portrayal. Despite the difficulties with the rights, Howard manages to convey the herculean task of the heroic Tham Luang cave rescue.

B level

Thirteen Lives is now available for streaming on Prime Video.