THIRTEEN LIVES

(Prime Video)

This (literally!) immersive Oscar-worthy feature remains so completely suspenseful that it seems shorter than its more than two-hour run time.

It’s impossible to look away from screenwriter William Nicholson and veteran director Ron Howard’s enthralling re-creation of the harrowing actual events that occurred in Northern Thailand during the summer of 2018.

After the unexpected early arrival of the monsoon season, twelve members of the Wild Boar soccer team and their coach become trapped in the flooded Tham Luang Cave.

 As panicked parents and first responders arrive at the cave’s entrance, they realize the difficulties of a rescue.

Ten thousand volunteers arrive in Thailand from all over the world in an attempt to save the missing boys and to keep the flood waters in abeyance.

But rising waters within the cave nonetheless remain a threat to the stranded team. Would-be rescuers, including the Royal Thai Navy SEALS and teams of other expert divers fail in their attempts to maneuver through the labyrinth of underground caverns.

Eventually, British cave divers John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) and Richard Stanton (Viggo Mortensen) make their way through the underwater obstacles and find all 13 survivors trapped on a ledge.

While it’s a joyous discovery to find them alive after nine days, transporting each member of the soccer team to safety seems impossible. The rescuers believe that the only way back would entail each boy to swim underwater for several hours.

Stanton convinces his friend Australian diver Dr. Richard “Harry” Harris (Joel Edgerton) to join the rescuers. Although Harris himself has doubts about possible success, he explains his radical plan to bring the marooned boys and their coach to safety.

With the permission of the provincial governor, Harris, Volanthen, Stanton, Paul Mallinson (Paul Gleeson) and Chris Jewell (Tom Bateman) form a 5-man rescue team.

Filmmaker Howard takes the viewer on a realistic, claustrophobic adventure through dangerous underground waters.

Kudos go to actors Farrell and Mortensen, who learned to scuba dive in order to do their own stunts, to underwater cinematographer Savombhu Mukdeeprom and to production designer Molly Hughes for her stunning depiction of the cave’s interior and exterior and for the design of the quickly assembled “village” for the thousands outside the cave’s entrance.

Rated PG-13

3 and 1/2 Stars

RESURRECTION

(Streaming VOD)

Talented actress (“The Night House”) and director (“Passing”) Rebecca Hall gives an edgy, intense performance in this mysterious psychological thriller written and directed by Andrew Semans.

Hall plays Margaret, an accomplished, highly educated woman whose life seems to be perfect. But she is overly concerned that her daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman) will soon be leaving home to go away to college.

At a bio-tech conference, Margaret’s world begins to destabilize when she catches a glimpse of a terrifying presence—her abusive ex, David (Tim Roth, who also does some of his finest work here). As he stalks both mother and daughter, Margaret believes that David has returned from her distant past to cause harm.

When law enforcement offers no help, she arms herself and makes Abbie stay home.

But then David starts to reaffirm his diabolical power over Margaret.

Instead of following the trend for mixing horror and comedy, “Resurrection” remains a gravely compelling and disturbing scenario which descends into unspeakable terror. While at first Margaret’s fears and paranoia seem grounded in realism, the film morphs into a surreal spine-chilling conclusion.

Rated R

3 Stars

 Alice Reese is a member of the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association. She reviews movies, arts and entertainment for the Herald-Banner and for KETR.

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