'The Rescue' from National Geographic highlights Thai soccer team's daring cave rescue

BySandy Kenyon OTRC logo
Friday, October 8, 2021
'The Rescue' highlights Thai soccer team's daring cave rescue
"The Rescue" is one of the most emotional and thrilling movies of the year. It's remarkable because we know the story has a happy ending!

NEW YORK -- This is an update to a story we brought you three years ago: the miraculous rescue of a dozen boys on a soccer team and their coach after they became trapped deep inside a cave in Thailand.

It was one of the biggest news stories of 2018, and the world watched them come out alive. Now, a new documentary from National Geographic provides the amazing details of how they were saved.

You may think you know what you need to know about this, but "The Rescue" is one of the most emotional and thrilling movies of the year. This is all the more remarkable because, of course, we know the story has a happy ending.

The boys became trapped a mile from the entrance of an underground cave, and saving them meant swimming that mile underwater. Finding the boys was the easy part.

At first, rescuers didn't have a clue how to get those kids out, and the effort required thousands of people to pull off. A small group of amateur cave divers proved crucial.

"Imagine diving in an underwater cave where the visibility is so poor you literally can't see your hand in front of your face," cave diver John Volanthen said during the film's New York premiere at the Central Park Film Festival.

Volanthen played an integral role in the rescue, as did his friend Rick Stanton.

"(We) were uniquely placed with the experience and skills to make a difference," Stanton said.

How they pulled it off, along with a very small group of cave divers from around the world, is the subject of "The Rescue," released in theaters by National Geographic Films.

"It is a story that everyone knows a little bit about, but I promise you people don't know the incredibly beautiful, inspiring, complicated story of how this rescue was pulled off," said the company's Executive Vice President Carolyn Bernstein.

President of Content, Courteney Monroe, added most people, "have no idea how close it was to not being a happy ending."

The husband and wife directing team behind the film, Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi, won a Best Documentary Oscar for "Free Solo."

"We always believe, you know, that documentaries should also be really entertaining," Chin said.

"It's this idea that if you're the only person in the world who can do something, will you do it to help a stranger," Vasarhely added. "And it's the idea of being your best self."

Together with an army of collaborators, the pair find thrills even when a happy ending is assured.

All involved manage to find universal truths within this specific event, and "The Rescue" is that rare documentary that is so visually spectacular that it is best seen on a big screen.

Its distributor is owned by the same parent company as this ABC station.