Ron Howard’s retelling of a 2018 Tham Luang cave rescue of a Thai soccer team and their coach doesn’t have the immediacy or emotional potency of his 1995 space film staring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and the late Bill Paxton with the same number in it, Apollo 13.
Yet, the maker of Rush, Willow, The Da Vinci Code, and A Beautiful Mind among his credits is sure-handed enough to keep an uplifting true story from being water-logged from lack of care or psychological insight.
Not demanding the spotlight or mugging for attention are Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton as nerdy cave divers, the later being anesthesiologist ‘Harry’ when a team of Thai Navy seals are overwhelmed by such an operation. As John and Rick, Mortensen and Farrell are able to provide necessary grits as the tension mounts.
If you’ve seen the non-fiction co-directed The Rescue Howard’s film isn’t as gripping even given media frenzy allocated by the dire situations. But, pulse-pounding moments are there to be shared for those stricken by such an undertaking with downpours and maze-like tunnels for those who have a knack for task that’s not of the ilk many would be into.