Documentary filmmakers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarheyli follow up their Oscar winning Free Solo with another unbelievable true story – The Rescue.
It follows the story that gripped the world in 2018 when the Thai Wild Boars youth soccer team spent 13 days trapped in a flooded cave system and the men who risked everything to save them.
Rather than making it a story of survival, recounting it through the boys who survived, the filmmakers focus on the men who were instrumental in getting them out safely. Partly because it is that side of the story that is much more dramatic. Whatever you may have seen on the news, it will not prepare you for how incredibly risky and wild the plan is to rescue the boys is. It plays out like a Hollywood movie. Like a version of Apollo 13 entirely from the viewpoint of the scientists at NASA trying to get a square peg to go into a round hole. And not a single mention of Elon Musk and his submarine!
The secret to a great film or documentary about such a well known subject matter? Have the audience become so invested in the storytelling that the end result is in doubt. Even when you know the outcome. Chin and Vasarheyli reuse narrative techniques from Free Solo to have audiences forget they are watching a movie. Instead having them feel like they are experiencing this incredible story in real time.
By speaking with those directly involved, combined with recreations of the action within the caves, the film puts the audience right there next to them as their mental and physical fortitude are pushed to the very limits. It is an incredibly empathetic experience. Allowing you to feel what they felt on this incredible (underwater) rollercoaster mission.
The Rescue is a thrilling testament to the power of the human spirit. One that, just like the divers, will have audiences holding their breath till they reach the other side.
Director: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyli
Stars: Jim Warny, Thanet Natisri, Rick Stanton
Runtime: 114 minutes