The Devil's Miner (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Devil's Miner (2006)

The Devil's Miner (2006)

The Devil's Miner



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

"The Devil's Miner" follows two brothers, 14-year-old Basilio and his 12-year-old brother Bernardino, who live in poverty with their mother in the mountains of Bolivia. They work long shifts in the Cerro Rico silver mines, braving deadly conditions to earn enough money to attend school. Daily the brothers go into the underground mining tunnels and tempt fate in order to gain a better life. Through the children's eyes, we encounter the sixteenth century mine, where devout Catholics sever their ties with God each time they enter the shafts, because of the ancient belief that the devil, as represented in the hundreds of statues constructed in the tunnels, determines the fate of all who work there. Raised without a father, the boys assume many adult responsibilities and must work to afford the clothing and supplies vital to their education. Basilio believes only the mountain devil's generosity will allow them to earn enough money to continue the new school year. Without an education, the brothers have no chance to escape their destiny in the silver mines.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Musical & Performing Arts, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By: ,
Written By: Richard Ladkani, Kief Davidson
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 23, 2006
First Run Features - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Devil's Miner

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (11)

A mesmerizing documentary both exotic and sad.

Full Review… | May 19, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

This is social documentary at its best.

Full Review… | April 28, 2006
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

... visually beautiful, unforced essay on legacies of colonialism.

Full Review… | April 27, 2006
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

While political and social context is kept to a minimum, the darkly poetic images they capture speak volumes about what the miners go through.

March 28, 2006
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

This beautiful, terrible story is not easily forgotten.

Full Review… | March 22, 2006
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Guaranteed to leave you outraged at the way children -- and, for that matter, adults -- are exploited by mining companies.

March 17, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Devil's Miner

[font=Century Gothic]"The Devil's Miner" is a documentary about Basilio, a 14-year old mine worker in the silver mines in Bolivia, who has been working there for the last four years while his 12-year old brother assists him. Sometimes he works 24 hour shifts, gnawing on coca leaves to give him energy to stay awake. Life expectancy is 35-40 years for the average miner because of silicosis which is due to inhaled dust particles. Conditions in the mines are bad anyway because of risky explosions and poisonous gas. If his father had not died some years before, he would not have to work in the mines.(The mines were started in colonial times by the Spanish who exploited the Indio population as slaves. You can see how little things have changed over the years.)[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"The Devil's Miner" is a heartbreaking documentary that is told entirely from the point of view of Basilio, his family, other workers and a local priest. I might have had concerns about using a child to talk about a miner's life as a cheap ploy to get sympathy but it works as a look into a possible future, not only for him but for all of the other miners. Basilio goes to school and wants to become a teacher. He sees the mines as a temporary situation. Let's hope so.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

I'm not sure what to say about it. My sister didn't like it much so she fast forwarded through most of the second half. I don't know that I can call it a bad movie, it just didn't offer much more than: Poor 14 year old kid who has to work in a mine and underground worship the devil because it is his territory beneath the ground.

Basically I felt guilty and somewhat bored. I don't think I gave the movie a good enough chance but I don't think it was great. I probably sound pretty heartless saying it was boring. Perhaps someday I will have to give it a proper chance. Honestly, it isn't that I don't feel horrible for children who have to work in a horrible and dangerous place, I just don't need 82 minutes of guilt and sympathy and admiration for poor kids to know that the world really sucks for a lot of people. But, like I said, I didn't really get to see it all so the ending might have had something great to it but I don't think I will ever actually go back and finish it and find out.

Maybe I could sum it up by saying that there wasn't anything really great or unique about the documentary but the subject matter was kind of interesting and certainly the story of children laboring in dangerous mines is heartbreaking.


If you?re in the mood for an eye opening documentary? this will do the trick. I was captivated throughout the entire movie; following these children who must work in the mines of Bolivia is both heart wrenching and inspiring at the same time. Any parents out there who have children complaining about homework or school, should show their kids this film? seeing young Basilio work a 14-24 hour shift in the mines, then still have the energy to somehow go to school the next morning is an eye opener. The family that this film follows was so fascinating to me? the children at a young age are wise way beyond their years and show the kind of determination and commitment to family that is getting more and more rare here in America. Immersing yourself in this film will also help you to realize that even the poorest burger flipping minimum wage worker here in America lives like a pampered king; compared to these individuals. There is also the spiritual side of the film which I found fascinating. The miners are God fearing individuals when living outside the mine, but once they enter the mines they pray and worship the devil because they believe the devil is God in the mines. Wow. I?m giving this one my ?must see? stamp, and if you?re a documentary fan like I am, this is a no brainer.

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