Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Directors Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi deliver a strong account of that incredible 2018 rescue of 12 boys and their coach from a terrible fate inside a flooded cave in Thailand.
The Rescue combines actual footage with tasteful reenactments to document the incredible ordeal where that group of kids seemed destined to drown. The boys survived for 18 days and were rescued thanks to the contributions of a pair of British cave diver hobbyists (John Volanthen and Richard Stanton) who discovered them 2.5 miles into the cave system. A Thai Navy Seal perished during the rescue effort. The following year, another Navy Seal died from of an infection contracted during the rescue effort.
The directors do a consistently engaging job of building the tension in this movie, even though, if you are familiar with the event, the outcome is known (Hey, Ron Howard did a fine job with the same dilemma in Apollo 13!). Knowing that the boys survived, it is still fascinating to see the footage of them sitting patiently in that dark cave and being prepared for a dangerous swim to safety.
That swim involved putting the boys under with drugs, putting a mask over their heads, and dragging them along during the 2.5 mile journey back, mostly underwater. How the divers managed to do this, a dive most experts deemed impossible, is a miracle, and part of what makes this movie such a good watch.