Husband and wife team and directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin won an Oscar for their 2018 documentary Free Solosand they are at the top Rescue (Disney +), chronicles the rescue of 13 boys trapped by rapidly rising water deep inside Thailand’s Tham Luang cave system. The rescue made international and also international news when a pair of British cave divers became instrumental in rescuing trapped children.
RESULT: LEARN IT OR FORGET IT?
Gist: The Tham Luang cave system is the fourth longest in Thailand, running hundreds of meters deep beneath the Doi Nang Non mountain range. The chambers are connected by narrow channels and underground rivers, with a wide and sweeping entrance located near the town of Mae Sai in northern Chiang Rai province. In 2018, a group of boys playing together on the Wild Boar soccer team got stranded with their coach when the monsoons arrived early and torrential rain continued to raise water levels in the cave, obstructing the exit. their. Thai Navy SEALs joined the rescue effort and were joined by hundreds of volunteers both locally and internationally, as well as an international team of military personnel and a team of seasoned cave divers. experience, whose unique understanding of the difficult underground environment has made them the tools to mount any kind of rescue.
Since Tham Luang is such big international news, its consequences have been marked by controversies over who should tell the story. For example, Netflix secured the rights from the boys’ own point of view. Rescue, which, meanwhile, is a product of National Geographic, safeguards the interests of divers, and thus focuses the narrative on their views. We meet Rick Stanton and John Volanthen, both British, both professional cave divers, and both dedicated to keeping children safe. But they have to find them first, and Rescue features a combination of dives recreated into the claustrophobic, watery depths of the cave system as well as footage from the cameras Stanton and Volanthen carried with them. Outside, the rain continued to fall, and large pumps tried to divert as much water as possible into the cave. Locals pray and parents mourn for their lost boys. A revered monk comes to give his blessings and spiritual insight. And large amounts of media train their cameras and microphones on every action rescuers take.
Once Stanton and Volanthen did find the children alive – almost a miracle – the point was to get them out really and safely, and Rescue Follow the divers as they assemble their own special team of experts. The oxygen supply in the cave is running low and there are two and a half hours of diving to navigate to see if anyone gets out alive. Incredibly, the most effective means of rescue turned out to be the impossible – sedating trapped children, and getting them out by diving.
What movies will it remind you of? Thai action drama 2019 The cave recounts the story of the Tham Luang cave rescue, with several members of the rescue effort acting as themselves. There’s also an upcoming film from director Ron Howard Thirteen lives, with Viggo Mortensen as Rick Stanton, Colin Farrell as John Volanthen, and Joel Edgerton as anesthesiologist Richard Harris.
Performances worth watching: Serious and careful in his words, but also possessing a quiet determination and a hint of dry irony just below the surface, Rick Stanton proves to be the most involved in what makes a craftsman. Cave diving became like that. indispensable in rescue operations.
Memorable dialogue: As Stanton and Volanthen pushed their air supply to the limit and searched even deeper into the cave system, only to suddenly find themselves face to face with members of the Wild Boar soccer team, still alive. and rock on a little exposed hill rock. , their excitement is replaced by fear. “The whole journey back,” said Stanton, “all I was thinking was ‘What the hell are we going to do now?'”
Gender and Skin: Are not.
Our Take: “I don’t feel comfortable in any way, shape or form in terms of what we’re doing,” cave diver and anesthesiologist Richard Harris said in Rescue. “There are two things that are really powerful. And that’s pushing someone’s face into the water that’s unconscious and then tying their hands behind their backs. For me, it was like dying.” It felt like death for Harris, the doctor himself who devised the sedation plan after being contacted by Rick Stanton, but it was the only means of getting the boys out potentially alive. As one member of the US Air Force’s rescue team puts it on the website, “if you don’t dive, people die.” And so Rescue finds its most compelling rhythm in its final installment, when a team of civilian cave divers are each assigned a boy to sedate and perform the most difficult part of the cave system, through acoustics. water and mud and running water, to the waiting arms of soldiers and hundreds of volunteers hundreds of people, all preparing to bring each child to the surface and a convoy of ambulances waiting.
But besides their hard work and dedication at the cave area, Rescue also sheds light on what kind of person dives into dangerous underground space just for fun. For one man, divers consider themselves individualists. Not team players, they’re happiest where no one can tell them what to do, and it turns out the best example of that is deep underground inside a cave full of water. “My world is this little passageway, and that’s okay,” says Volanthen. Or as diver Jim Warny said, “Once I get underground, the world disappears.” And Stanton has the final word, summarizing how rewarding it is to put their personalities and appropriate skill sets into such an important goal. “Well, I think I’m very proud of what we did. You can say justification for the dedication I have to an absurd minority sport that no one has ever taken seriously.”
Our call: INSTRUCTIONS IT. Rescue Break through the media spectacle surrounding the Tham Luang cave rescue to reveal the human faces of those dedicated to risking their lives and limbs to bring the boys home.
Johnny Loftus is an independent writer and editor living in Chicagoland. His work has appeared on The Village Voice, All Music Guide, Pitchfork Media and Nicki Swift. Follow him on Twitter: @glennganges
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