Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman, Sukollawat Kanarot, Theerapat Sajakul, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Vithaya Pansringarm, Teeradon Supapunpinyo, Nophand Boonyai, Paul Gleeson, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, and U Gambira
Director: Ron Howard
All things considered, I don’t have many complaints about Thirteen Lives. It’s competently directed, the performances are workmanlike and understated (top notch accent work too), and the story is told with respect and care. That said, this is the true story of something that was all over the news in 2018, so there is absolutely zero tension (at least for me) because I remember the whole ordeal. The lack of distance from the actual events makes it fall flat. It’s not bad…and in a vacuum, I’d even say it’s good…but if it had been made 10-15 years from now, it might have been great.
Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives might be considered a return to form for the director, if only the return wasn’t far more tame in execution than it is in concept. The dramatization of the Thai Cave Rescue not only lacks much of the actual event’s drama, but its tension, as evidenced by news footage and the incredible documentary The Rescue. Truthfully, it’s the lack of score and flare that ultimately render this one unremarkable in the face of a miracle. That said, it works enough to not feel like a waste of time, and the performances and pacing are largely well-handled.
Thirteen Lives is one of those movies that I don’t know how to review because there simply isn’t much to say. It’s generic. If the only thing worth mentioning is how great the sound is, it’s not the best sign. Is this movie bad? No… but it’s meh. This story was on the news for weeks, and it was so recent that you’re gonna need to do something more interesting than just blandly telling us what we already know. It couldn’t even manage to be a cheesy feel-good movie. It just decides to remain unremarkable. I didn’t hate it, but I’m never seeing it again.