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‘The Cave’ – It’s frenetic and covers a lot of the rescue and the main players

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‘The Cave’ – It’s frenetic and covers a lot of the rescue and the main players

By The Thaiger

 

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The Thaiger went to the first session of Tom Waller’s ‘The Cave’ and loved it. It’s frenetic, it’s very busy and it covers a lot of territory regarding the scope of the saga. But it also lacks focus, a lot of the actors play themselves with varying success and, well, we already know the (mostly) happy ending.

 

But the overall experience when leaving the cinema is of a satisfying portrayal of the dramatic international rescue and the many people that came together to make it happen.

 

There is SO much to cover in the whole story spanning about two weeks during June and July last year. And trying to focus on any, one, story in the two hour running time means that a lot of other details would have to be left out. So the director tries to cram a little bit of everything so there’s not a lot of time to get involved in any of the may characters.

 

So where is the focus in the story? Who was the ‘star’? Was it the Governor of Chiang Rai province who we saw so often briefing the media? Was it the 23 year old assistant coach Ekkapol who carried a lot of the responsibility for the safety of his young players? Was it the divers who found the boys? Was it the Australian diver/doctors who came up with the risky evacuation plan? Was it the Navy Seal who lost his life whilst trying to rescue the 13 young men?

 

For any director this is always going to be a problem covering such a broad story of 100s of heroes and thousands of others, all providing help that eventuated in the successful rescue. Director Tom Waller decides to focus on the overseas divers that were brought in provide vital expertise and come up with an impossible plan to extricate the 13 young men. Specifically Jim Warny, a Belgian diver, based in Ireland. He plays himself in ‘The Cave’ and we follow his personal journey through the rescue.

 

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Most of the action is shot with hand-held cameras adding to the urgency. So sit at the back of the cinema, it gets a bit nauseous sitting in the middle of the cinema. There’s also a clever merge of original footage, recreated footage and the actual people involved in the rescue playing themselves. That you can’t really spot the real from the recreated is a nice bit of cinematic trickery.

 

The Thai authorities don’t come out very well in this telling of the tale but the local Thais, many playing themselves, will win your hearts as we’re reminded of their many unsung contributions to the rescue. The infamous Thai paperwork and bureaucracy, that is usually just annoying in daily life here in Thailand, becomes life-threatening during the real rescue. This ‘touchy’ subject is well covered as the drama unfolds.

 

Whilst the two weeks are crammed into two hours, you are on a constant ride of frustration, recollections and the happy moments when the 13 are all brought out of the Tham Luang cave alive, against the odds.

 

And then it ends, quite abruptly.

 

Having followed the story from Day One as a writer, I was immersed in the details for over two weeks last year. So there wasn’t many surprises in the movie.

 

Interestingly, the two Australian doctors who actually came up with, and implemented, the audacious plan to sedate the members of MuPa, making the extraction possible, were barely mentioned. The two men (who were awarded Australian of the Year 2018) ended up with a 20 second side story with an actor with a bad Aussie accent explaining to two of the other divers how to administer the Ketamine doses used to sedate the boys.

 

That was it. Many other details remained uncovered, including the huge tent city that rose up from the Tham Luang mud during the two weeks to house the enormous international media interest, complete with a pop-up curry kitchen provided by the locals.

 

But go and see it. It’s the first of many productions currently underway. The next one will be the Netflix documentary series which includes interviews with all the main players, including the 13 young men.

 

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Director, Irish-Thai Tom Waller, during filming of ‘The Cave’

 

It certainly makes me want to jump in a plane and go and visit the Tham Luang caves… when it’s not raining!

 

‘The Cave’ is on major theatrical release now around Thailand, in English with Thai sub-titles. Here’s a list of the main cast…

 

Jim Warny as himself, a Belgian diver and electrician based in Ireland

 

Ekawat Niratworapanya as Ekkaphon Chanthawong, stateless assistant coach of the “Wild Boar” soccer team

 

Tan Xiaolong as himself, a Chinese diver

 

James Edward Holley as a U.S. Air Force Major

 

Nirut Sirijanya as Governor of Chiang Rai Province

 

Bobby Gerrits as a U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant

 

Ross Cain as John, a British diver

 

Jumpa Saenprom as Mae Bua Chaicheun, a Thai rice farmer

 

Todd Ruiz as himself, an American reporter for Khao Sod

 

Erik Brown as himself, a Canadian diver

 

Mikko Paasi as himself, a Finnish diver

 

Ross W. Clarkson as an Australian doctor

 

Lawrence de Stefano as Chris, British lead diver

 

Source: https://thethaiger.com/news/chiang-rai/the-cave-its-frenetic-and-covers-a-lot-of-the-rescue-and-the-main-players

 

 

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-- © Copyright The Thaiger 2019-11-22

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

So where is the focus in the story? Who was the ‘star’? Was it the Governor of Chiang Rai province who we saw so often briefing the media? Was it the 23 year old assistant coach Ekkapol who carried a lot of the responsibility for the safety of his young players? Was it the divers who found the boys? Was it the Australian diver/doctors who came up with the risky evacuation plan? Was it the Navy Seal who lost his life whilst trying to rescue the 13 young men?

Talk about redundancy, did the writer have a target set for a minimum amount of words this should be, it is like something a school kid would write

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I have just returned from my third visit to the Tham Luang National Park and I was now able to enter the first awe-inspiring main cavern where I could see the smaller entrance to the cave system from which the boys and their coach entered and were eventually rescued from. I stood imagining all the heroic and brave acts being committed by those during the rescue. The surrounding area of mountains, parkland, information center, museum and memorial statue to SEAL Saman Kunan who tragically died, is kept more or less free of commercialism and as natural as possible despite the thousands of tourists visiting every week. Entrance is FREE but there are donation boxes. However, it is a different story outside the park boundary where a small town of bamboo huts and stalls has been created selling all manner of goods, produce and souvenirs to the tourists. An electric trolley service conveys you from the car parks to Tham Luang.

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Sounds great, can't wait for it to become available.

 

Be nice if they did a follow up about the tent city and cooking and all the logistics regarding pumping the water out and then the clear up of all the equipment after it was over, and all the fringe activity that helped the success of the rescue.

 

 

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