I very seldom have the concentration required to sit through an entire movie on television. I often become distracted part-way through, lose track of what is going on, and lose interest.
Thirteen Lives had me riveted for the entire 2 hours and 27 minutes. I knew the story of course – not many people could have escaped the unfolding drama of the 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue, where 12 schoolboys and their football coach were trapped in a flooded cave for several weeks. Chances of them getting out were very very slim, as none of the boys could swim, and escaping the cave meant a claustrophobic dive through murky water lasting hours, with stalactites and stalagmites everywhere. If, during a dive, a boy panicked and started flailing, chances are they would kill both themselves and their rescuer.
If you followed the story as I did, you know how it ended, but this movie made you feel like you were following the story for the first time.
How they actually got the boys out was initially kept from the media and parents, and when it became clear afterwards that unconventional medical intervention had taken place, there was no outcry. I think it was clear that there was no other way. And doing it the way they did meant that there was no loss of life in a situation that was initially thought to be inevitably fatal to all.
This was a great film. It is in both Thai and English, but with subtitles. This gives authenticity to it. Viggo Mortensen and an almost-unrecognisable Colin Farrell were great.
The thought the movie left me with was that these are heroes. Real heroes in life are not the Kardashians or Instagram influencers or even presidents. They are ordinary people who do extraordinary things because helping others is the right thing to do. I wish we celebrated these people in media rather than those that take up all the space right now.