Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022

‘Thirteen Lives’ On Amazon Prime Video Movie Review: Ron Howard’s Spine-Chilling Account Of The Real-Life Thailand Cave Rescue

Outlook rating
4.5 / 5

Ron Howard’s latest film ‘Thirteen Lives’ on Amazon Prime Video is based on a real-life incident from 2018 where a group of 12 kids and their coach got stuck inside a flooded cave in Thailand. Is the movie representation of the incident worth a watch? Read the full movie review to find out.

A Still From 'Thirteen Lives'
A Still From 'Thirteen Lives' Instagram


Ron Howard


Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, Tom Bateman, Pattarakorn Tangsupakul, Sukollawat Kanarot, Thiraphat Sajakul, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Vithaya Pansringarm, Teeradon Supapunpinyo, Nophand Boonyai, Paul Gleeson, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Peter Knight, U Gambira, Josh Helman

What’s The Story

A rescue mission is assembled in Thailand where a group of young boys and their soccer coach are trapped in a system of underground caves that are flooding. Will the rescue team be able to work alongside the national navy seals? Will the rescue team be able to find the missing 12 kids and their coach? Will they be able to rescue even one of them from dying before the caves get flooded in the monsoon? Will there be life loss of anyone during the entire operation? Will the parents be able to see their kids ever again? Well, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out.

Watch Trailer

What’s Good

Ron Howard's Brilliant Direction

Ron Howard’s brilliant direction makes the movie a spine-thrilling watch. The fact that it’s a real-life incident makes the viewing even more satisfying. Every second since the time the kids get trapped in the flooding cave, you’re on the edge of your seat thinking about what’s going to happen next. Howard’s years of experience are seen in the underwater scenes. He has ensured that you’re left terrified seeing how much power the monsoon floods can have.

Don Macpherson and William Nicholson’s story coupled with an even better screenplay by Nicholson ensures that the viewer feels the chills running down their spine every bit of the journey. The writing is so well packed up that you would not want to leave your seats to get up and take a leak.

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s cinematography is spot on. Those underwater shots and the long-range shots of the mountain tops were simply breathtaking. As almost 90 per cent of the shoot had to happen in the rains, a great filter has been used to ensure that the viewer gets to feel that dampness in the air throughout.

James D. Wilcox’s editing is praiseworthy. He has kept the presentation to about 147 minutes and the film doesn’t lag even for one bit. Except for the starting football match, which sets up the premise, the rest of the movie is kept so tight that you’re left wanting for a breather.

Benjamin Wallfisch’s background score is sure to leave you scared every time the divers are underwater. The gurgling sound of water flowing through the caves, the swashbuckling sound of the flood currents, and the underwater breathing sounds of the divers are absolute perfection.

Among the actors, all of them have come up with a great performances. The best part is how all the actors have ensured they looked their parts aptly. Viggo Mortensen and Colin Farrell are two of the most good-looking actors in Hollywood, and one look at them in ‘Thirteen Lives’ and you’re left wondering how different they look from their real lives. They have immersed themselves into the character and held onto little nuances like scratching their heads or doubling up words when nervous. The rest of the supporting cast has very ably supported Farrell and Mortensen, and each has done their part to their bests.

What’s Bad

Lot Of It Is In Thai

There’s hardly much that’s wrong with the film. However, it’s made in Thai and English combined. So if you’re not an avid watcher of subtitled films, a lot many scenes would make you just pause, rewind and rewatch, as a lot of the initial conversations are in Thai.


Ron Howard has come up with one of the best films of his career. He keeps bettering himself with every passing film, and this film is just another feather added to his already illustrious cap. ‘Thirteen Lives’ is sure to make you not want to leave the screens once it has started. It’s spine-chilling in its presentation and makes you sit on the edge of your seats throughout. It’s a definitely Must Watch. I am going with 4.5 stars.