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Documentary film The Rescue one deep dive

It is a fascinating, edge-of-your-seat thriller. It's also one of the best feel-good family movies.
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A cave diver emerges from water in the documentary The Rescue, which chronicles the 2018 rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/Photo


The Rescue

Stars: 4.5

Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

Rated PG for coarse language, peril, and substance use

Runtime: 108 minutes

Playing Oct. 23, 28, and 30

Metro Cinema, 8712 109 St. in Edmonton.

The Tham Luang Nang Non cave was their playground, but the cave always gets closed in July because of the rains. It was still June then, so it was safe for them to play, or so they thought. Sometimes, however, you can't predict when heavy rain will come.

In 2018, in the Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand, 12 youths from a boys' soccer team, joined by their coach, took to the cave after a practice but lost their path back after it became partially flooded. They became trapped underground and there was no miracle to save them, only the concerted efforts of a ragtag team of cave divers hastily organized by British divers John Volanthen and Richard Stanton.

We all remember the story, but National Geographic produced this absolutely absorbing documentary about the behind-the-scenes ground-level effort. The Rescue is every bit as nail-biting as the daily newspaper accounts we all read over the course of the two-and-a-half weeks those 13 souls were locked in the dark and blocked by the endless water. Directed by the Academy Award-winning team of Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the film is an in-depth look at the complex operation.

Exactly how complicated was it? It reportedly involved more than 10,000 people, including teams from China, Myanmar, Laos, Australia, the UK, and the United States. These people included more than 100 divers, dozens of other rescue workers, 900 police officers, and 2,000 soldiers, not to mention scads of government representatives. They utilized 10 police helicopters, seven ambulances, and more than 700 diving cylinders and water pumps that worked overtime to the tune of more than a billion litres of water.

It took nine days for the divers to find the missing people. That was the easy part, the documentary then informs us.

The Rescue is a fascinating, edge-of-your-seat thriller that speaks mountains about human determination and ingenuity to solve complex problems. It's also one of the best feel-good family movies. If you've ever lost your kid in a store or in the woods or otherwise, you'll only have a millionth of the sense of what these 12 boys' parents must have felt. Still, it's important to watch to help you remember how much you love your own kids, too.


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