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The Cave (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Ekawat Niratvorapanya (Actor) | James Edward Holley (Actor) | Jim Warny (Actor) | Nopadol Niyomka (Actor)
The Cave (2019) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
The Thai cave rescue mission
May 31, 2020 Picked By Sanwei See all this editor's picks
Remember the Thai boys soccer team that was trapped in a flooded cave? That was only two years ago, though it seems like an eternity has passed since. Even as the events were unfolding, we all knew that the Thai cave rescue would become a movie, because it was such an amazing, made-for-the-movies story. The question was more how it would be told onscreen and who would be telling it. After the rescue, the Thai government was very protective of the soccer team, and the rights to the boys' stories were granted to SK Global Entertainment with Netflix. Thai-born, British-raised director Tom Waller's The Cave is not so much about the boys trapped in the cave, but rather the mission to rescue the boys.

The Cave is set mostly in the ground area of the Tham Luang cave where rescue plans played out. Presented in remarkably direct and documentary-like manner, the narrative film follows the events from the views of different individuals who were involved in the rescue mission. Adding to the documentary-like feel of The Cave is the fact that actual people who participated in the rescue portray themselves in the film, including Thai water pump engineer Nopadol Niyomka, American reporter Todd Ruiz and four diving experts who traveled over from different parts of the world – Jim Warny from Ireland, Erik Brown from Canada, Mikko Passi from Finland, and Tan Xialong from China. Of these, Belgian cave diver Jim Warny, one of the rescue divers who evacuated the boys from the cave, has the biggest role in the film, and he also helped with the script and planning the diving scenes.

While the casting of real people means that the acting may not be stellar, it undeniably contributes to the realism of the film. And none of these real heroes seem interested in overcelebrating themselves. There are very few moments of excessive emotions in the film, just of humanity. There's great compassion and heroism but also hesitation and frustration.

The Cave is definitely told more from the perspectives of the international divers, as those were the story rights acquired for the film, but it also shines a light on unsung local heroes like Nopadol Niyomka, whose pumps helped reduce the water level so that it would be possible to even attempt a rescue. Also one of the most touching moments of the film is a short scene in which nearby farmers refuse compensation for crops that were destroyed by the water pumped out from the cave.

Two years ago, people around the world worried together about the lives of 13 boys in a cave. We read headlines daily, anticipating the worst as days turned into weeks, and rejoiced when they survived against the odds. The Cave is a poignant, straightforward portrayal of a time when the international community mobilized resources and came together selflessly for the common mission of saving innocent, young lives. Those were simpler times.

  • Region & Language: Hong Kong United States - English
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