The Rescue

From the Academy Award winning team who brought you Free Solo comes The Rescue, a documentary that chronicles the 2018 search-and-rescue of the Wild Boars soccer team who were trapped in a flooding cave in Thailand.

You may remember, this same event was portrayed in last year’s Cave Rescue and dramatized by active duty Navy SEALs who were involved with the actual mission. So, funnily enough, the documentarians behind The Rescue find themselves in another comparative scale (Free Solo and The Dawn Wall being released close together) and viewers are left wondering which movie they should check out first.

While Cave Rescue’s gimmick of casting real-life responders was its weakest element, the film was still able to deliver thrills while enlightening viewers on the rescue mission. The Rescue is in another genre, sure, but filmmakers Chin and Vasarhelyi don’t elevate the film’s form. The Rescue is a textbook example of an efficient talking-heads documentary, but this also results in a flat and autopiloted film. The filmmakers have not improved on their inability to focus. Just as they exhibited in Free Solo, The Rescue often features the documentarians riding on tangents; such as interviewing their subjects about personal traits that stem too far away from the doc’s primary story. This downgrades the intensity of the movie, and makes it rather shallow.

I did like The Rescue more than Free Solo, and the footage featured in the documentary is still very fascinating. But Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi still have to prove their skills as storytellers and filmmakers.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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