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The Devil's Miner

The Devil's Miner (2005)

tomatometer

90

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 645

My Rating

Movie Info

The forsaken world of Bolivian silver miners is brought to the screen in this powerful documentary. Basilio Vargas is a 14-year-old boy living in the impoverished Cerro Rico region of Bolivia. Since the death of his father, Basilio and his younger brother Bernardino are the breadwinners in his family, and they support their mother and siblings working in the Cerro Rico silver mines. Basilio is one of 800 children who regularly work the mines, and it's indicative of the danger and physically

May 23, 2006

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All Critics (27) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (2) | DVD (2)

A mesmerizing documentary both exotic and sad.

May 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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This is social documentary at its best.

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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... visually beautiful, unforced essay on legacies of colonialism.

April 27, 2006 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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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
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This beautiful, terrible story is not easily forgotten.

March 22, 2006 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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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
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This documentary which exposes the twin evils of child labor and silver mining, is a most powerful expose' of an ongoing, mass-scale human tragedy.

June 16, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Bay View
San Francisco Bay View

The flawless progress of this documentary lies in the filmmakers' unwavering fealty to their subjects.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A horror movie? Nope -- documentary. Though there is, I think, a good horror movie to be made here.

October 25, 2006 Full Review Source: LYTRules.com
LYTRules.com

The film has a tendency to repeat itself, even within its short running time of 82 minutes, but is still able to express a sincere sorrow.

July 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Window to the Movies
Window to the Movies

It's a simple film with a direct message, but the glimpses of the surrounding social culture that has adapted to the horrors give (it) its identity.

May 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

It's a testament to the filmmakers' subtle storytelling skill that we come to see these boys as heroes as well as victims.

May 11, 2006 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

A role-model of a boy with the great skill to articulate his impressive determination and plan for self-improvement.

April 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals
Cinema Signals

At times it feels as if not cameras but the audience has been transported to the high mountains of Potosi, Bolivia -- and not so much physically but somehow spiritually.

March 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Basilio narrates his tale with such wit and wisdom that one comes away from the film wondering how much youthful potential is slowly being choked to death deep within the bowels of the earth.

March 17, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani's documentary The Devil's Miner is so polished that it might pass for a scripted narrative feature, but that's not a bad thing.

March 15, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

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]
March 26, 2006
Harlequin68
Walter M.

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