Mimi Rogers in Cave In (2003)

A Mining Disaster Movie

With her father retiring Pat Bogen (Mimi Rogers) is taking over as mine supervisor which in effect puts her in charge of her husband and son who both work down the mine. But when the mine collapses causing a cave in Pat must do what ever she can to rescue not only her family but the other men trapped down there as the clock is ticking.

Oh dear, as soon as "Cave In" started I had an ominous feeling as we watched Pat drop off her husband, played by Ted Shackelford, to work and we see him walk in with some other miners, nothing wrong with that except director Rex Piano chooses to show this in slow motion as if these men are heroes heading off into space or something. This is not only accompanied by purposefully grey visual tone but when we enter the cave there is a vision of an old woman in smart clothes before a mining disaster. This all turns out thankfully to be some sort of weird dream which Pat is having but any movie which delivers this sort of forced visual style right from the word go does not bode well.

Ted Shackelford in Cave In (2003)

I say thankfully but things don't get much better when we get to the next scene a picnic party for Pat getting the job and her father, the typically named Cappy, retiring. This has the distinct feel that the sound man took the day off when these scenes were shot as it has that dissociated sound of being over dubbed in the studio afterwards. That is not the only thing wrong as it is full of cheese from the stereotypes presented to us, to the whole loving relationships between Pat and her husband whilst the father son relationship is strained.

Now I could keep going because there is a lot more which feels poor about "Cave In" but that would to spend more time writing on a movie which really doesn't deserve a lot being written about it. So what we have is a tick box disaster movie where we meet the people, we understand a father and son has issues and then we have the disaster where not only do we have the frantic efforts to save the men but we also have the father-son relationship come back to the fore. It is typical and despite being a movie which should revel in that claustrophobic atmosphere of a cave-in it never really captures any atmosphere at all.

In the end the draw for "Cave In" is the cast because if you are a fan of Mimi Rogers or Ted Shackelford then it is just about worth watching. But their characters are forgettable and thanks to what feels to me is poor sound work it often feels like the voices are not really attached to the characters.

What this all boils down to is that "Cave In" is watchable but it is a poor movie which fails to really capture the atmosphere of the disaster and just goes through the motions.