The Rescue Review – Humanity’s Greatest Hits

The Rescue

During the summer of 2018, the world focused on Thailand and the rescue attempt to save 12 young soccer players and their coach. The Wild Boar football team traveled far inside the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai when an early monsoon storm trapped them deep within the 10 km cave. As a whole, the internationally organized rescue effort amassed an insane amount of drama, including (thankfully) a happy ending. Naturally, Hollywood wanted to take the drama-fueled story and adapt it into a film. Last year, we had the release of Tom Waller’s drama, The Cave, and next year we get Ron Howard’s latest film, Thirteen Lives. However, before we get Thirteen Lives, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin follow up their Oscar-winning Free Solo with The Rescue, a documentary that recounts the harrowing events from beginning to end.

Now, if the shots in Free Solo left you with feelings of vertigo, then the dives in The Rescue will leave you feeling claustrophobic. Vasarhelyi and Chin seamlessly recount the Thai rescue saga using a mix of archival footage and new interviews with many of the participants from the rescue effort. It also features some dramatic recreations of the dive itself. These reenactments are so good that you wouldn’t be able to discern the recreations from the archival footage. Through this myriad of footage, Vasarhelyi and Chin delivers on the notable drama and sheds light on the undying human spirit that helped fuel the rescue. 

The Rescue is an incredible documentary that’ll make you cry, cheer and leave you in suspense the entire time.

Much of The Rescue focuses on the team of international cave divers who went to Thailand. Not to mention, it focuses on their unique talents at cave diving and how it helped save those trapped in the cave. The filmmakers establish early on that the Thai Navy SEALs didn’t have the right skill set to do cave diving. These middle-aged men do, and they do this as a hobby. Not to mention, it takes a special kind of person to participate in this dangerous hobby. 

As a result, the filmmakers shape an already dramatic story into something that’s more profound and powerful. Whatever you think you know about the saga, you don’t know jack. The film still manages to generate a lot of genuine suspense despite any prior knowledge of the incident. For example, the cave divers realize that finding them in the cave is only half the battle. At this point, the next set of problems arise: how do you get them out? The pain and the anguish on the rescuers’ minds are on full display here. If the Thai Navy SEALs can’t dive in those conditions then how can 13 starving people? Their emotions become contagious as you become emotional too. That’s the power of this story and the humanity behind the rescue efforts.

Overall, The Rescue is an incredible documentary that’ll make you cry, cheer and leave you in suspense the entire time. Once the credits begin to roll, we’re reminded of what humanity can achieve when we come together for a compassionate cause.

Rating: 5/5 atoms

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