Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Cave-in: a Treatment for a Typical Hollywood Movie Inspired, more or less, by Real Events
First, we move the action from Chile to America, because people don’t want to read subtitles. We make it, say, six men trapped in the mine instead of 33-- 33 is just too many to juggle.
Josh Brolin stars as the gruff but likeable lead, a down-to-earth kinda fella without pretension or artifice. He’s a natural leader, the other miners look up to him.
Then we have Morgan Freeman as the old-timer. The day of the cave-in was supposed to be his last before retirement. All he ever wanted to do was leave the awful mines of Kentucky behind and go live out the rest of his life in, say, California. Or maybe Spain.
Shea LaBouf plays the young guy, full of hope and promise about his new career as a miner. He used to be a computer programmer but wanted to do something “real” and “of the people”. He’s an idealist, and a constant source of good-natured amusement for Brolin and Freeman.
The jerk is played by Bill Paxton. He’s good at what he does, but hates everyone. Being trapped with them in the mine only brings out his dark side.
The coward is Casey Affleck.
After the cave-in, it doesn’t take long for things to fall apart. Paxton and Affleck have an argument, and it turns out Affleck has a gun. He tries to shoot Paxton but winds up killing the sixth guy instead, who’s name isn’t important as he’s a middle-aged chubby guy and we knew from the start he was going to die.
Affleck is subdued, but tensions continue to rise as we learn that Brolin’s wife used to date Paxton, and Paxton never got over her. Also, Paxton was supposed to be the team leader but Brolin got the job instead. LaBouf calls for calm, and Paxton punches him and another fight is narrowly avoided.
Meanwhile, LaBouf’s wife, played by Megan Fox goes to see the big boss, Kevin Spacey. Spacey is a real sleazebag-- he tries to seduce the young wife by promising to get LaBouf out first if she’ll sleep with him. Fox remembers, just in the nick of time, the conversation she had with her husband in which he said “If I’m ever trapped in the mine, don’t make a deal with my boss and sleep with him to get me out first. That wouldn’t be right.” Close one!
Back in the mine, the men start learning that they have more in common than they all realized. They all like bacon, for one, and also, they watch American Idol. Even Paxton starts to lighten up.
But after two months, and with rescue only hours away, Affleck escapes his confinement, finds his gun, and holds everyone at bay. He shoots Brolin, apparently killing him. LaBouf jumps him and takes his gun away. Paxton, who’s realized the error of his hateful ways, helps LaBouf by taking the gun and shooting Affleck dead. They turn to Freeman for leadership, and Freeman obliges with a few helpful platitudes.
The rescue tunnel is complete, and the men start up, Freeman first. He makes it safely to the top. Paxton is next, then LaBouf. LaBouf is halfway up when the rope snaps! Fortunately Paxton’s transformation is complete and he grabs the young man’s hand and hauls him up.
Up top, the media is waiting in droves for the heroes. Brolin’s wife is frantic, wondering where her husband is. Paxton starts to console her, when suddenly Brolin appears at the top of the hole, bloody but alive. “You weren’t gonna leave me down there, were you?” he quips.
As Brolin and his wife embrace, and LaBouf and Fox embrace, Freeman approaches the sleazy boss Spacey and, in front of all the cameras, punches him in the face. Because don’t we all want to see Kevin Spacey punched in the face?