Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new English film Thirteen Lives which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. It was in 2018 when I had come across a stray incident in the news that a Thai football team were trapped inside a cave. Such was my curiosity that I did keep a track on its latest updates. The chances were dim but I had ensured to keep them and the rescuers in my prayers for the entire duration of the operation. Finally humanity had prevailed wherein all members of the football team were brought out alive. Based on the same incident, this film was announced and I personally thought it would make for a great viewing experience. So then does Thirteen Lives manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Based on an unimaginable true event, Thirteen Lives follows the story of the unthinkable operation to rescue the members of a Thai football team. The story is excellent and it resonates with the undying human spirit who held its own against the force of nature and multiple obstacles thrown in its path. The screenplay standing at 150 minutes may seem long but this drama had a lot of meat even to be transformed into a full blown webseries. And so 150 minutes wasn’t too long!
The drama gets to the point almost immediately. What I really enjoyed was that the writers decided to base the film from the gaze of the outsiders. So you do not get to see how the Thai football team was trapped inside the cave. This does add an element of mystery for those who are unaware of the turn of events from 2018. The turn of events are engrossing as you constantly find yourself at the edge of your seat. It seemed as if the viewer is trapped inside the cave too making the drama claustrophobic and suffocating even to witness. This while the element of mystery and the extent of the mystery being intact. Even the reaction of the parents every now and then made for a heartfelt watch which kept the emotional quotient of the film intact.
I found myself gasping for frequent bouts of oxygen while witnessing the drama which unfolds like a survival thriller. Another positive aspect of the drama is its focussed narration. While the drama does briefly branch out into multiple subplots, at no point do you feel that the drama drags on any occassion. The narration is pinpoint perfect thereby contributing to the ambience which is filled with tension in the air.
It was so heartening to witness people from different countries coming together and providing their services and expertise. In times of differences based on caste and religion, to witness this kind of monumental effort was such a warm feeling. The drama though is filled with obstacles. The twists and turns are engrossing and it keeps you invested throughout. It also gets briefly into the psyche of the rescuers giving us just a glimpse of what was going through their head. The one thing which I learnt from the screenplay was that the drama epitomized team work so beautifully. There was no way this would have been possible without proper team work from all the concerned parties. This leads to a rousing final act which fills you up with so many emotions that portray a huge sigh of relief along with a sense of victory without going overboard at any stage.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational but there is a sense of urgency to them. The BGM is very gently used and so you often just get to hear the flow of water or the rain which helps keep the drama raw. The cinematography is exceptional giving a sense of claustrophobia to the viewer simply through the visuals. Director Ron Howard does a fabulous job is keeping the drama rooted to reality which made it engrossing and suffocating throughout its duration.
The performances are simply outstanding. Tom Bateman as Chris and Paul Gleeson as Jason are first rate. Sukkolawat Kanarot as Saman and Joel Edgerton as Dr. Harris have their moments to shine. Colin Farrell as John is so well restrained even when he is vulnerable and he is just phenomenal to watch. Viggo Mortensen as Rick is outstanding here and both these protagonists take you on such a wonderful ride. All other Thai actors are absolutely brilliant summing up a memorable outing for so many of them.
Thirteen Lives is Claustrophobic, Suffocating and Enthralling but more importantly a heartfelt story of humanity who refused to bow down. Available on Amazon Prime and Highly Recommended!