The Rescue – Film Review

Unless you were living under a rock in 2018, you would have no doubt heard of the amazing rescue of the twelve young boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. It dominated the headlines for weeks and thankfully all the boys and their coach were saved from the cave.

Feature length documentary, The Rescue details the incredible rescue from start to finish and beyond, with a seamless blend of actual footage taken during the rescue and recreated footage. Academy Award winning filmmakers Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi, best known for 2019’s Free Solo, together along with some of the key cave divers and rescue personnel, have crafted an extremely thoughtful and intense documentary that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

I really enjoyed this documentary! It was chock full of facts about the rescue, but it didn’t get bogged down. The Rescue is presented with quality film visuals and the aid of computer animation to map out the cave system and it really drove home the enormity of the task ahead. The creators stuck to the story and pushed all the controversy to the side, which was a great choice.

Being a documentary, there naturally aren’t any huge stars here, but a lot of the rescue team appear to retell the story and their experiences throughout. The main divers Vern UnsworthRick Stanton, John Volanthen, and Richard Harris communicate the story with such emotion, while also recreating footage that wasn’t captured during the rescue to really flesh-out the documentary and keep it interesting.

Now I must admit, although I had heard of the Tham Luang cave rescue while it was happening, I wasn’t following it too closely and was quite oblivious to some of the details. I didn’t realise that the boys were trapped over 4km from the cave entrance. Diving through the cave from the boys’ location to the entrance was a three-hour journey, which blew my mind. But the biggest fact that left me stunned is that some of the key divers only do this as a hobby yet are considered the best in the world with decades of experience. They’re true heroes in wetsuits.

The Rescue had me glued to the screen, on the edge of my seat and holding my breath throughout, even though I knew the outcome! This will no doubt receive multiple nominations come award season, and they’d be well deserved. Chin and Vasarhelyi are truly skilled documentarians, and I can’t wait to see what they tackle next! Honestly, this is one of the must-see films of this year.

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