Inspired by true events, Thai Cave Rescue tells the story of a Thai youth football team and their assistant coach getting trapped inside a flooded cave complex, and the subsequent global rescue effort that it prompts.
A youth football team called ‘The Wild Boars’ in the Chiang Rai province head off to explore the Tham Luang cave after their practice. Their assistant coach Ekkaphon, nicknamed “Eak”, is accompanying them, leading the way.
A wholesome exploration soon turns into a nightmare as a flash flood due to the early onset of monsoon coerces the boys further inside the cave. They eventually find a spot very far inside the cave where they can settle while being safe from the water.
The parents become aware of the harrowing situation, and so do the local authorities and eventually the governor of Chiang Rai. A local British cave expert is called and he advises the government to call British cave divers that he knows about.
The cave divers arrive and the rescue effort commences, with the Thai Navy SEALS and experts/rescuers from all across the world all lending their help to the mission. Governor Narongsak leads the rescue mission and makes several hard decisions along the way.
Encountering one logistical nightmare after another, in addition to the troubling challenges that the terrain and climate present, the rescue effort finally concludes after a tenuous span of eighteen days.
While all thirteen lives stuck inside are all rescued and saved, one life is lost during the mission as well.
Thai Cave Rescue includes a large ensemble of characters, most of whom are played with sufficient competence by the corresponding actors.
However, the series does contain noticeable moments of iffy acting. There are instances throughout the six-episode run, where the acting from the international cast doesn’t quite suffice in conveying the emotional content required from the scene.
Some of the core cast members do a great job playing their parts, with the late Papangkorn Rerkchalermpoj shining exceptionally in the scenes that put him in either the centre stage or the periphery.
The actors playing the parents of the football team also do a great job conveying the sense of dread, hope, and the seldom hopelessness that they feel, depending on the corresponding developments in the rescue mission.
One of the things setting Thai Cave Rescue apart from other previous retellings of the real events is that Netflix managed to buy the rights to the story directly from 13 Tham Luang Company Limited. The company oversees the story rights of all the rescued boys and coach Eak.
What this acquisition means is that Thai Cave Rescue has the unique feature of the boys’ perspective and their take on the entire turn of events.
Whereas some of the previous films and documentaries have delved into the British cave divers’ perspectives, Thai Cave Rescue has a significant chunk devoted to The Wild Boars’ collective perspective.
This puts a noticeable authenticity to the limited series that the viewers won’t find in previous films and documentaries.
Despite its authenticity and a much-needed fresh perspective on the harrowing real-life ordeal, Thai Cave Rescue is a slog to get through.
Much of the screen time is given to the rescue effort that proceeds at a sluggish pace, with the twists of new challenges and hurdles taking forever to unravel.
The football team’s confrontation with the terrifying calamity is given very little time, depriving the series of some compelling sequences and the viewers a chance to better gauge the hopeless dread that the boys must have felt during the abrupt chaos.
Thai Cave Rescue also falls victim to the same kind of sloppy Netflix treatment viewers have come to expect from the streamer. Even the title of the limited series feels like either the laziest ideation attempt or a carefully selected phrase to boost its search engine ranking.
Taking advantage of the authentic perspective of the characters central to the real-life story is not enough for the Thai Cave Rescue. The Netflix series often falters and fails to grip the audience in an urgent manner required for a retelling of a story this compelling and bone-chilling.
Thai Cave Rescue
Director: Kevin Tancharoen & Baz Poonpiriya
Date Created: 2022-09-22 12:30
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