Thirteen Lives

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Albert Flores

Thirteen Lives is a 2022 American biographical survival film based on the Tham Luang cave rescue directed and produced by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by William Nicholson. The film stars Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, and Tom Bateman.

Thirteen Lives was released in select theaters on July 29, 2022, by United Artists Releasing, and began streaming on Prime Video on August 5, 2022. The film received generally positive reviews from critics.

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Plot

On June 23, 2018, twelve boys of the junior football team "Wild Boars" and their assistant coach Ekkaphon Chanthawong leave practice to explore the Tham Luang cave. When the team fail to arrive at a birthday party organised by their parents, their families head to the caves, only to find them flooded and the boys missing, their bikes left at the entrance. +more The parents immediately alert emergency services.

Royal Thai Navy SEALs, led by Captain Arnont, arrive to search for the missing boys, but find the dive too difficult to locate the team. Vernon Unsworth, a local British caver, shares his extensive knowledge of the complex and dangerous cave and suggests the authorities get in touch with the British Cave Rescue Council. +more British cavers Rick Stanton and John Volanthen attempt the dive, finding the boys and coach four kilometres from the entrance. In an attempt to deliver wetsuits to the boys in preparation for the rescue, former Thai Navy Seal Saman Kunan drowns.

Meanwhile, as hundreds of volunteers try to mitigate poor weather conditions, a water technician from Bangkok gains the permission of local farmers to divert water from the mountain onto their fields, destroying their crop.

Realising the boys will have to be removed through the cave, via a 6 hour dive, Stanton and Volanthen contact Dr. Richard Harris, plus supporting divers Chris Jewell and Jason Mallinson. +more With permission from the regional governor and minister, the divers sedate the boys and, with one diver per boy, carry each member out of the cave safely. The coach is removed last. Removed to hospital, the parents are reunited with the team. The end scene is the boys celebrating the birthday party that was supposed to happen on the day they went into the cave. The end credits reveal that the coach and three of the boys, who were all stateless, are given Thai citizenship. The film is dedicated to Saman Kunan, the Thai Navy Seal who died while resupplying air tanks on July 6, 2018. The credits also mention another Navy Seal, Beirut Pakbara, who later died from a blood infection.

Cast

Viggo Mortensen as Richard Stanton * Colin Farrell as John Volanthen * Joel Edgerton as Richard Harris * Tom Bateman as Chris Jewell * Pattarakorn Tangsupakul as Buahom * Sukollawat Kanarot as Saman Kunan * Teerapat Sajakul as Captain Anand * Sahajak Boonthanakit as Governor Narongsak Osatanakorn * Vithaya Pansringarm as General Anupong Paochinda * Teeradon Supapunpinyo as Ekkaphon Chanthawong * Nophand Boonyai as Thanet Natisri * Paul Gleeson as Jason Mallinson * Lewis Fitz-Gerald as Vernon Unsworth * Peter Knight as Police Captain Bas * U Gambira as Kruba Boonchum * Josh Helman as Major Hodges

Production

It had been announced in April 2020 that Ron Howard was to direct the film, with William Nicholson writing the screenplay. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer would acquire the rights to the film the next month. +more In March 2021, Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton were among the cast announced to star in the film. Filming began on March 29, 2021 in Australia. It was also shot in Thailand. The film's original score was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch.

Release

Thirteen Lives was released by United Artists Releasing in select theaters on July 29, 2022, before streaming on Amazon Prime Video on August 5. The film was originally scheduled for a fully theatrical release by United Artists Releasing on April 15, 2022, and was then postponed to November 18 in response to the best test scores in MGM's history. +more In May 2022, however, the film was brought to its current release date due to Amazon's acquisition of MGM in March.

Reception

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 86% based on 163 reviews, with an average rating of 7. 3/10. +more The website's consensus reads, "Steadily helmed by director Ron Howard, Thirteen Lives offers an incomplete but still gripping dramatization of an incredible true story. " On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".

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