Thirteen Lives

Director: Ron Howard
Year Released: 2022
Rating: 2.0

Back in July of 2018, it was the story that went around the world: twelve boys from a junior soccer team and their Coach went to explore the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Northern Thailand when a monsoon hit, trapping them inside - this is Howard's recreation of the risky rescue mission spearheaded by British divers Rick Stanton (Viggo Mortensen) and John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) as well as Australian anesthesiologist Richard Harris (Joel Edgerton) that meant drugging the kids (with Xanax, ketamine and atropine) and carrying them out like human-sized parcels.  It takes a while for the cameras to finally pay attention to the trapped party, because I was wondering how they were making it without food and understandably terrified - when it does turn its focus to the evacuation plan, it's very workman-like and kind of impersonal: Ron can't stop being a populist who has a fascination with blue collar jobs (starting with 1982's Night Shift) ... and he just wants a happy ending out of it all (with the exception of two Thai Navy SEALs who died and the movie is dedicated to).  He allows for a faint whisper of spirituality to drift into it (despite Stanton's apparent agnosticism): sometimes, in dire circumstances, you have to pray for a miracle to happen.  But equally as important to all that is finally getting a long-desired slice of SpongeBob cake....