Amazon Prime’s new survival drama Thirteen Lives chronicles the miraculous rescue of a junior football team trapped by flood waters in a cave system in Thailand.
It was an extraordinary story that gripped the world’s attention: in 2018, a youth football team of 12 boys and their coach became trapped by flood waters in a cave system in Thailand. Their fate in the depths of the underground labyrinth was unclear, and as the days went by without word of their whereabouts, concern grew about whether the team would emerge alive.
With a monsoon threatening to hit, an international operation was launched to save the team. Faced with insurmountable odds, a team comprising some of the world’s most skilled and experienced divers joined with Thai forces and more than 10,000 volunteers in a harrowing rescue mission. United in their tenacity, all 13 people were miraculously saved.
Now widely referred to as the greatest rescue mission the world has ever seen, the incredible true story has been brought to cinematic life in the new movie Thirteen Lives, which is released this weekend on Amazon Prime.
Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard, the ripped-from-the-headlines drama recounts the tale of how the Moo Pa (Wild Boars), a Chiang Rai-based team of 12 young footballers and their coach were exploring the Tham Luang cave when an unexpected rainstorm trapped them in a chamber deep inside the mountain without supplies or oxygen.
Entombed behind a maze of flooded cave tunnels and facing impossible odds, a team of world-class divers navigate their way through miles of dangerous cave networks to discover that finding the boys is only the beginning.
If the trailer is anything to go by, the movie looks set to be a nail-biting watch, with plenty of dramatic underwater scenes amplifying the perilous situation faced by those trapped in the caves.
There’s plenty of star power, too, with Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell and Joel Edgerton playing the British divers and foreign experts involved in the harrowing rescue mission.
“It looks easy, but when it’s flooded, it’s impossible,” warns Farrell as John Volanthen, the cave diver who made the discovery of the missing football team in the caves.
“You try to dive those kids the whole way, all you’ll be bringing out is dead bodies,” adds Mortensen, who plays the British cave diver Richard Stanton.
There’s also a host of familiar Thai actors playing characters with significant roles in the rescue, including Sukollawat “Weir” Kanarot (Malila: The Farewell Flower), Teerapat “Tui” Sajakul (The Serpent), Sahajak Boonthanakit (The Serpent), Vithaya Pansringarm (Only God Forgives), and Teeradon “James” Supapunpinyo (Bad Genius).
Thirteen Lives will be available to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime on 5 August.
Images: MGM/Amazon Prime
Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.