Thirteen Lives (2022)

Drama/ True Story/ Adventure
Rated 12
Amazon Prime
Spoiler Free

The story of the Thai football team and their coach who got trapped in a cave system, right as a flash flood hit in 2018, was still reasonably fresh in my mind when I put Thirteen Lives on. I do love a Ron Howard film but I expected a solid story well told, though one which didn’t do much more than keep my eyes busy. When I know the ending, I’m always suspicious of a story and that definitely tempered my expectations.

In the midst of the Thai panic and tearful insanity gone worldwide, two English divers (John Volanthen and Rick Stanton) rock up at the Tham Luang caves arguing about custard creams. The everyday nature of these men is rooted in two excellent, understated performances from Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen. Viggo looks and sounds a bit like Sean Lock. I miss Sean Lock. People from all over the globe and just about every Thai resource are battling not only to save but even just locate the children, with the help of these men, progress is made and the boys are located.

I’ll leave the story there, in case you live in a ca… In case you don’t know it.

Thirteen Lives is even and fair and I guess as honest as you can hope for. Nothing about it is over the top or crooked and it plays all the characters with a straight bat, even those who it was probably tempting to turn into villains for a bit of Hollywood conflict. The anguish and frustration is so palpable that even as early as when the parents realise their children are missing, I welled up. There was more of that to come.

Hard times often bring out either the good or bad in people, and Thirteen Lives is a brilliant portrayal of a time when everyone pulled together. It is tense, stressful and nerve wracking- far more than I was anticipating. There is also a surprising amount about the rescue efforts I didn’t know or remember (I forget that I forget things). Most of all Thirteen Lives is very, very emotional, and really moved me alongside being gripped and entertained.

Bedsit it?

A superb film, expertly made. I can’t think of a single reason not to give Thirteen Lives 10/10.

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