Last night I caught Ron Howard‘s Thirteen Lives (Amazon Prime, 7.29), a 147-minute docudrama about the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue. I found it admirable in every respect — brilliant, harrowing, gripping — and am sorry I didn’t catch it theatrically instead of in Jett and Cait‘s living room. I can’t imagine how a more riveting narrative feature could have been made.
No, I’ve never seen Tom Waller‘s The Cave (’19) or National Geographic‘s The Rescue (’21). For all I know they both provide a fuller immersion, but Thirteen Lives definitely works. It conveys a feeling of claustrophobic tension and pressure that holds you and damn near instills feelings of subdued panic, especially if you’ve ever felt slightly freaked from being in tight spaces (as I have once or twice).
Part of the problem is that damn near every critic has used the terms “white savior story” or “white savior narrative” in their reviews. This is because they’ve all been ordered by the woke comintern to look askance or at least suspiciously at any film set in a non-white country (Thailand) in which white guys are the principal heroes.
And so the verdicts have been tainted by phrases like “the film isn’t simply a white-savior story,” “keeps Thirteen Lives from completely succumbing to a white savior story,” “…can sink into a White savior narrative,” etc.
The fact is that the principal heroes behind the Tham Luang rescue — real-life divers Rick Stauton, Chris Jewell, John Volanthen, Jason Mallinson and Dr. Richard Harris — are white (British and Australian) and played respectively by Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Tom Bateman, Paul Gleeson and Joel Edgerton.
Sorry, asshole critics, if that goes against what you’ve been told to approve and/or disapprove. I understand what your marching orders are and I sympathize with your situation, but facts are facts.
It’s an old complaint but many wokester critics are so completely caught up in their own little bullshit anti-white narratives that it’s almost not worth reading them. This tendency was evident last April in some of the negative reviews of Michael Mann‘s Tokyo Vice, which was trashed by anti-white racists like Rolling Stone‘s Alan Sepinwall and Slashfilm‘s Josh Spiegel.