Thirteen Lives (2022) Amazon, screenplay by William Nicholson, and directed by Ron Howard.


Like me, you may vaguely remember this, 23rd June 2018. 12 boys from Thailand (and their soccer coach) = 13, trapped in an underground cave (Tham Luang) and being rescued. We know there is a happy ending. It provokes one of those questions. Why watch the movie when we know what happens? But then again, we know what happens in  What A Wonderful Life, but we watch it every Christmas.

Grenfell Towers epitomises the worst of Britain and its class system. It shows the repeated failures of authorities and professionals to behave morally and do their job properly. Thirteen Lives, like the rescue of George Linnane from a cave system in the Brecon Beacons epitomises the best of British. It’s a triumph of amateurism that should shame those in authority, but we all know how that works, or doesn’t.

Here we have the Thai Navy Seals on standby, sent into the rescue the kids, but they’re not up to the job. Richard Stanton (Viggo Mortensen) as the grumpy, but brilliant caver tells them flatly, ‘You trained in open water.’

The team he put together were all cavers and divers. They’d done the hours, underground, in the dark, feeling their way forward. John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) is ying to Stanton’s yang. Richard Harris (Joel Edgerton) as the Australian anaesthetist plays a crucial role in the rescue. But let’s not underplay the role that others played in the operation. This was a working community, planning and playing together for the common good. Communism, but you might have a different tag.

Stanton and Volanthen, initially, have no part in the international rescue operation. The professionals get on with it, only they don’t. When they’re finally given permission to dive, they wonder how many of the kid’s bodies they’ll manage to bring out of the cave system.

When they locate them and find out they’re alive, they face a different dilemma. They can’t bring them out, because no matter how they do it, the children will panic underwater, endangering themselves, and the diver trying to save them. They’ll probably both drown. Stanton makes it clear he didn’t come to be a hero. He came to do a job and if he can’t get in and out, he’s off.

The scheme they design is brilliant, but untried. They wonder how many of the kids, if any, they’ll be able to bring out alive. The children, who include three immigrants (yes immigrants in Thailand too, we like to drown them here) are on death row with the cave flooding and running out of oxygen. It’s the ticking clock and a lose-lose scenario. Brilliantly done, in real life and in the film that followed: What a Wonderful Cave Rescue. They should show it every Christmas.  


I remember the story on the news but didn't realise the escape plan was untried. "What a Wonderful Cave Rescue" I'll add that to my Christmas movie list.


You should.  It's great. 


1 of the best rescues for sure.....  a test of ad hoc teams/crews.... a few egos & ruffled feathers in the line up- bureaucracy , usual stuff in my line of work, but in the end-staying focused on the mission, think out of the box, improvise, strip it to a core A team & get the back up/support crews organized = its doesn't have to work @ 100% efficiency i.e. cyclical repeat- of about 80% functional & the odds are you can pull it off..... the real enemy is time & elements=water.... Holy F#³/*X!!! a deep water rescue in long cave... hats-off, knee down, hand up = respect. w/a cringe.....

Prayers to the 2 Thai-NAV-Seals & their families.....

& tranquilizing the kids, anesthetic ketamine,  to rid the panic equation out and save oxygen on the dive.. now there's some scribbled math with a list of variables..... %'s, space- distance & time & doping under water..... uffff.... (I'm sure that was a hot discussion when that idea came up...(omg)*

Good 1 Celtyes........ (cringe) blush 


Grenfell Towers = aforementioned..... The legal system  allows product liability, gross neglect, ++++ claims & settlements, etc...  even Meta just got hit €1.3 billion fine recently here in Euroland......

You make a point there about the class system & failures of the authorities/bureaucracy....

This will repeat its self in another place & time, different disaster, but the same of class of people will pay the price again...... I ain't a dooms day sayer, negative person..... just say'n ... we've seen this story line & film clip before... well noted Celt.... 



cheers Kris, I think I am a doomsdayer, but not a conspriracy theorist , unless you mean in the Marxist sense and global warming is not a hoax, but will kill billions.