How Deep Is Really Deep
Stars: Antonio Banderas, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jacob Vargas, Mario Casas, Naomi Scott, Juan Pablo Raba, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Bob Gunton, Gabriel Byrne, Cote de Pablo and Tim Willcox
Director: Patricia Riggen
Based on the book by Hector Tobar, "Deep Down Dark"
Composer: James Horner
Cinematographer: Checco Varese
20th Century Fox
Rating: R for language and dangerous situations (people with claustrophobia, be aware of this)
Running Length: 120 minutes
Chile is not only known for mountains and deserts, there are also mines that go back hundreds of years. The disaster of 2010 in which 33 miners were trapped underground for almost 3 months and brought back alive, is depicted here. Everyone knows what happened and it was headline news for months. This movie goes between the trapped miners and their families, who decide to camp out by the mine until they have news, which is slow in coming. As with governments, molasses moves faster.
The film centers on Maria (Juliette Binoche) who is waiting for the rescue of her brother and Cote de Pablo ("NCIS") who is waiting for news of her husband, and also expecting their first baby. On the government side, there is President Pinera (Bob Gunton) who doesn't know how to handle this essentially world-wide disaster, Minister Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro) is brought in as a logistics expert and Engineer Andre Sougarret (Gabriel Byrne) comes in to assist with special drills. The two sides, family and government, don't meet with past promises of safety that were never kept. Eventually, a solution is found and then, if it is feasible or not. Meanwhile, in the mine, Mario (Antonio Banderas) is picked by the men as a leader, with Luis (Lou Diamond Phillips) the shift foreman finding that the safety precautions everyone thought were there---are not. The men try to keep hopes up and it gets so dusty and dark there, later in the film, you can't tell one person from another. They ration whatever food is there, water they can distill and it is over 95 degrees at all time.
What caused the cave-in? It is an eye-opener when you see it on the engineer's computer. Literally the middle of a mountain came in on the men. The word hopeless looms large and hopeful very small, until the men below hear the first sound of a drill. Rescue plans are many and varied, but the men are kept alive until it is time for the surface. At the end of the film, you see the real men together at a dinner.
This film is beautifully made and the music by the late James Horner, adds the perfect touch. Both Horner and cinematographer Checco Varese, worked their magic. As in "Sicario", sometimes you don't even need actors to tell a story. Dialogue is either explanatory (above) or prayerful (below.)
Acting is on an even keel, with the stand-out being the face of Rodrigo Santoro as Laurence. His expressions don't need words. Over-acting is Juliette Binoche as Maria and Antonio Banderas as Mario. In scenes with Lou Diamond Phillips (Luis), you notice the quieter Phillips rather than Banderas.
This film will make you think about mine safety and what it is like to work 2200 feet below the surface of the Earth. The camera shot of a road spiral that goes from the surface way, way, way down, is stunning. If you have claustrophobic tendencies, hang on to your arm rests, but don't back away. This is reel and real life.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner