Thirteen Lives Movie Review: Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell Shine In Ron Howard’s Dramatic Retelling of the Thai Cave Rescue! (Onhike Exclusive)

Thirteen Lives Movie Review: Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell Shine In Ron Howard’s Dramatic Retelling of the Thai Cave Rescue! (LatestLY Exclusive)

Thirteen Lives Movie Review: When it comes to stories based on real-life events, the filmmakers often have to base their decision on whether to just completely commit to the dramatisation, or tell the story in a way that doesn’t disrespect the struggles of those involved. With Thirteen Lives, there is a fine line established that dramatises the events perfectly to engage the audiences in, but still has enough realism to it that doesn’t take away from the efforts of everyone involved. Bullet Train Movie Review: Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Blood-Soaked Thriller Revels In the Tongue-In-Cheek Chemistry of Its Cast! (Onhike Exclusive).

Directed by Ron Howard and from a script by William Nicholson, Thirteen Lives is based on the infamous rescue of a junior football team and their coach who were stuck in the Tham Lung Cave in Thailand. Set over a course of almost three weeks, the film sees everyone unite in a race-against-time so that the mission at could be fulfilled as soon as possible.

A Still From Thirteen Lives (Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video)

The best part about Thirteen Lives is how it approaches the story at hand. With time very much running out over here, Howard emphasises on the urgency of the situation. Just 10 minutes in, and you’re already into the meat of the story. No time is wasted over here at all, and it’s just made all the more better with how much care and attention the entire gets over here.

With so much of the film having its dialogue in Thai, Howard brings an authentic feel to Thirteen Lives. The movie never runs into the problem of having characters break out into English out of nowhere that has plagued many Hollywood productions (looking at you Ms Marvel). The culture and the care that’s been given to the entire ordeal here is very much impressive, and it helps the audience get into the story all the more.

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At the heart of it, we have Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell who portray Richard Stanton and John Volanthen respectively. Being the best divers out there, Mortensen and Farrell give their everything to the roles to the point I felt like I was watching a well-shot documentary and not a film. Joel Edgerton comes in halfway through the film playing the role of Richard Harris, and while his appearance is short, it’s very much impactful.

The story could have gone into the tropes of having “white saviour” protagonists, but no, the locals present here are given just as much importance as Mortensen and Farrell. It creates for an experience that more on the unity of everyone coming together and not telling the story from an individual perspective. That’s a very respectful thing Thirteen Lives did and honestly, props to Ron Howard and the writers too.

A Still From Thirteen Lives (Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video)

Even through its 150 minutes bloated runtime, which starts weighing in on the viewer by the end, Thirteen Lives provides for some of the scariest sequences I have seen in a good bit. How this story ends is public knowledge, but Howard helms the scenes in such a way that you’ll be rooting for everyone to make it out safe.

There are long diving sequences over here where they spend enormous amounts of time underwater. You never know what’s going to happen as the cave keeps flooding, so when the divers come up and out of the water, you just leave out a breath of relief. The water is murky, dark and visibility is almost non-existent. The claustrophobic aspect of these dives are achieved in a haunting way and cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom deserves special credit for it. Thirteen Lives Trailer: First Look at Ron Howard’s Biographical Survival Flick, Starring Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton Is Out! (Watch Video).

A Still From Thirteen Lives (Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video)

The entire rescue feels more satisfying to watch because it has a real-time feel to it. You never know that the boys on the other side are alive or no, and it creates for a watch that at times is bleak. However, I did hope that some more time could have been spent with those who were trapped, as the movie very much does focus on the diving aspect of it. Thankfully, it’s carried by its themes of unity and the satisfying payoff to this daunting task.


Colin Farrell and Viggo Mortensen

The Diving Sequences


Bloated Runtime

Final Thoughts

Thirteen Lives is an inspiring tale that takes one of the bleakest moments of the last few years and makes for a film that very much on the uniting of so many nations in an act of humanity. In times like these, Thirteen Lives is the kind of the movie we need and Ron Howard makes the absolute best of it that respects the stories of those who were involved in this daunting task. Thirteen Lives is streaming on Amazon Prime Video right now.

(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Aug 05, 2022 09:45 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website

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Charles writes for the Headline column of the website. He has done major in English, and a having a diploma in Journalism. He has worked for more than 1.5 years in a media house. Now, he joined our team as a contributor for covering the latest US headlines. He is smart both by him looks and nature. He is very good with everyone in the team.