New to stream: Thirteen Lives and The Sandman

Damon Smith


Thirteen Lives: Colin Farrell as John Volanthen, Paul Gleeson as Jason Mallison and Thira 'Aum' Chutikul as Commander Kiet

THIRTEEN LIVES (Cert 12A, 147 mins, streaming from August 5 exclusively on Prime Video, Drama/Action) Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, Joel Edgerton, Paul Gleeson, Tom Bateman, Sahajak Boonthanakit, Teeradon Supapunpinyo, Vithaya Pansringarm.

IN JUNE 2018 in northern Thailand, 12 members of the Wild Boars youth football team and their 25-year-old coach Ekkaphon Chanthawong (Teeradon Supapunpinyo) head into Tham Luang Nang Non cave, blissfully unaware that the heavens will soon open, heralding monsoon season.

Narrow tunnels are quickly flooded, trapping the 13 interlopers in a small chamber.

The boys' families raise the alarm and outgoing governor Narongsak Osatanakorn (Sahajak Boonthanakit) races to the scene to spearhead the rescue effort, painfully aware that he will be made a scapegoat by Minister of the interior Anupong Paochinda (Vithaya Pansringarm).

Experienced British cave divers Richard Stanton (Viggo Mortensen) and John Volanthen (Colin Farrell) lend their expertise to the perilous rescue mission.

Assisted by Jason Mallinson (Paul Gleeson) and Chris Jewell (Tom Bateman), they propose a risky solution that will call on the expertise of anaesthetist Richard Harris (Joel Edgerton).

Arriving less than a year after Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin's award-winning documentary The Rescue, Thirteen Lives is a compelling dramatisation of a true story that made headlines around the world.

Screenwriter William Nicholson respectfully distils an international effort that lasted 18 days into a tense and occasionally claustrophobic two-and-a-half hours.

He cuts back and forth between the boys' distraught families and the team of divers charged with accomplishing the impossible.

Characters are sketched at surface level including Mortensen and Farrell's unlikely saviours (both with distracting English accents), whose chief personality traits are a mutual love of Custard Cream biscuits.

Rating: 3/5


The Sandman: Tom Sturridge as Dream and Stephen Fry as Gilbert

THE SANDMAN (10 episodes, streaming from August 5 exclusively on Netflix, Fantasy/Adventure)

THE imaginative work of author Neil Gaiman has been successfully translated to the small screen as acclaimed TV series Lucifer, Good Omens and American Gods.

His beloved comic book series The Sandman, first published in 1989, was bound for the big screen until lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt announced his departure from the high-profile project in 2016.

Good things comes to those who wait because the dark fantasy materialises as a 10-part series on Netflix this week, boasting Gaiman as an executive producer.

Dream (Tom Sturridge) aka Morpheus has made numerous mistakes during his vast existence as one of the seven Endless comprising Death, Delirium, Desire, Despair, Destiny and Destruction.

He creates fantastical visions that shape the waking world including a nightmare called The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), who escapes the Dreaming and wreaks havoc among mortals.

Accompanied by trusty librarian Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong), Dream must restore balance to the waking world.