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Film / The 33

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"Estamos bien en el refugio los 33"
The 33 is a Chilean-American film about the 2010 Copiapó mining accident and the 33 miners who were trapped underground for three months. It stars Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Gabriel Byrne, and Lou Diamond Phillips.

33 people from the small city of Copiapó, Chile, work as miners at San José. The owners ignored the reports about structural problems in the mine, and ordered to keep working in it anyway. The mine finally collapsed, and the miners managed to reach a rescue chamber. The emergency ladders were missing, the radio was just a lot of useless cables, the medical kit was empty, and there was very little food available.

In light of the owner's disastrous management of the problem, the government of Chile seized the mine and directed the rescue operations. After some failed attempts, a drill managed to open its way to the refuge. First they sent the provisions that they may require, and finally opened a tunnel wide enough to retrieve all the miners back to the surface.

The 33 contains examples of:

  • Adapted Out:
    • There is no mention or glimpse of the six-man rescue team that descended into the mine aboard the Fenix capsule to provide medical care and stayed behind until all the miners had ascended.
    • The famous letter which read “Estamos bien en el refugio los 33” (We are all well in the refuge the 33) was actually written by Jose Ojeda, not Luis Urzúa as shown in the movie.
  • As the Good Book Says...: José Henríquez opted to ignore it. He was trying to comfort Mamani, who was too terrified to remember the words correctly. José simply improvised a prayer instead, saying that "God does not care" (about the correct use of the words, that is).
  • The Atoner: The guy who first raided the food box. He gave some cookies he had kept, asking to be forgiven.
  • Bad Boss: The owners of the mine do not give a crap about the miner's security, and will not attempt any rescue. They said that they had already dealt with 5 mine collapses, and never rescued anyone.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The government of Chile filled this role, when it was clear that the owners of the mine would let the miners die.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: One of the miners joked that, if they ran out of food, they may eat the Bolivian. Everybody laughs about the joke... except the Bolivian, who knows well that Chileans hate Bolivians, and that he's alone in a room filled with Chileans near the starvation point. Nobody really took the idea seriously, but he had a terrible fear since then.
  • Character Name Alias: Both in the movie as well in Real Life, Mario Sepúlveda is known by everyone as "Super Mario."
  • Composite Character:
    • Most of the cast have qualities of different people (which makes sense, after all they were 33 people) some examples are: Alex Vega, who shares characteristics of Florencio Avalos (because they were both the first miners to be rescued), Ariel Ticona (because both had pregnant wives waiting for them outside and, due to the experience, decided to name their daughters Esperanza, which means Hope), Jimmy Sanchez (since Alex is implied to be the youngest of all the miners) and, ironically enough, he barely shares anything with the real Alex, other than the name.
    • Another big example would be Dario Segovia (portrayed by Juan Pablo Raba) whose character seems to resemble Victor Zamora instead of the real Segovia, due to qualities such as the age (the movie portrays Dario in his mid-30s, when in reality, he was in his 50s, unlike Zamora who was, indeed, in his mid-30s), his raid to the food supplies, which in real life was lead by Zamora, and, to a smaller degree, his sense of humor, which can be seen later on the film when a gleeful Segovia jokes around Yonni when handling the explosives; in real life, Zamora was known as the “jokester” out of all the miners.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Part of the problem to reach the refuge with the drills is that they do not go in a straight line, they have a minor deviation that increases with the distance and makes them miss the target. The minister of mining had an idea: send the drill to miss on purpose. The lead miner dismissed the plan as a nonsense, but then gave it a try, Of course, it worked.
  • Elvis Impersonator: Edison Peña, both in parties and in the mine.
  • Everyone Lives: All of the miners make it out alive.
  • The Face: Mario Sepúlveda. For the movie also is The Leader and The Protagonist.
  • First Day from Hell: For the Bolivian Mamani, this was his first day working as a miner. Mario tells him to don't forget to put in for overtime pay.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Of course that the miners will be rescued, and that the 33 survive the whole thing. It's all written down in Chilean history.
  • Karma Houdini: It was mentioned in the epilogue that the mine has never been sued for criminal negligence, and the miners never received any compensation for this.
  • Meat-O-Vision: When the last rations were finally over, and the miners eat their last piece of food, they began a mass-hallucination where their wives, daughters, mothers, etc; gave them delicious empanadas, pastes, salads, cakes, etc. The dream was over a bit later, and they returned to the reality of the mine.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: The Bolivian Mamani gets a lot of violent crap from the others. Chileans do not like Bolivians very much. Eventually, the shared suffering makes them go easier on him.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The mine was not going to try any rescue. The relatives of the miners did not take it lightly.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: As you should know, this is based on a true story.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The film ends with images of the real 33 miners. The only one missing is Franklin Lobos, who's portrayed by Alejandro Goic in the film.