Maybe, it helps that I didn’t watch The Rescue prior to seeing the film, but Ron Howard’s work is excellent nonetheless. The film doesn’t waste any time getting to its “rescue mission” core, bringing in the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and eventually Joel Edgerton to help tell this thrilling and utterly grounded tale. Howard ensures that the film doesn’t forget where it is set, allowing the region’s culture to breathe life into its Thai characters as opposed to showcasing just white sentiment.The major highlight, as you expect, is the underwater cinematography (by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom) which plays an essential role in making us gasp for breath often and inducing claustrophobic feels. William Nicholson’s script plays out chronologically, adding more gravity to the events. The melodrama is kept to a bare minimum, and the narrative is very matter-of-fact. Benjamin Wallfisch’s score infuses itself into the fantastic sound design, making it indistinguishable from the sounds of water splashing, diving helmets hitting rock, and oxygen cylinders being dragged along. It’s 2.5 hours long, and you already know the ending, but it’s still one of the finest films this year.