Based on the real-life events that took place on an oil rig in the Gulf Of Mexico on April 20 2010, Deepwater Horizon chronicles the story of the worst oil spill in American history. It’s a tale about the courage of those who worked on the oil rig but also about corporate accountability, or their lack of. It’s one of those one in million disaster movies that isn’t all: style, flashiness and special effects. It has all of those things, but unlike others, it has an excellent narrative and excellent acting performances. Deepwater Horizon tells the harrowing tale of one of humanity’s biggest disasters in our world’s history.
Mark Wahlberg (Ted) is Mike Williams, an engineer who works at sea on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. We see him say goodbye to his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter. Everything seems to be going swimmingly well until we get to the rig where there’s a kerfuffle about hired workers leaving the rig without doing the required health and safety checks, because BP reps had sent them home. Once aboard, audiences could hear the trump of the elephant in the room, with the eerie tension between Jimmy ‘Mr Jimmy; Harrell (Kurt Russel) and the money-eyed Vidrine (John Malkovich) who is used as a symbol for the evil and villainous ways of corporations. His ideologies show that making millions for companies like BP is valued higher than the welfare of the workers. Much of the equipment is faulty and Vidrine doesn’t care because that doesn’t make the big bucks.
When the employees begin their work under duress, we begin to see there are lots of problems on the rig. It doesn’t take long before the workers are fighting for survival on a burning vessel in the middle of the sea. Truth be told, this disaster movie is cliché-free and has scene after scene that leaves a lump in your throat. I’m glad director Peter Berg skipped over Mike’s family dynamic and got into the film’s meat quickly. He spent enough time on the family unit without it becoming cringeworthy, which can’t be said for many disaster flicks, which often includes tedious crying and emotional goodbyes. But once we’re on board, the film gets serious with many instances of tense dialogue. Also, we have excellent rapport between all the actors including Jeff Bridges (Hell Or Highwater) as Mr Jimmy and Dylan O’Brien (Scorch Trials) as Caleb Holloway. Deepwater Horizon shows that disaster movies with a plot, good acting and realistic themes work, and they work incredibly well.
The majority of modern disaster flicks are anything but that, mentioning no names…San Andreas. We need more flicks like Deepwater Horizon; cringe-free, well-acted with a sensational musical score and a sturdy script that incorporates: humour, intelligence and gritty realism that will take your breath away. Deepwater Horizon doesn’t pull any punches in showing who the bad guys are. The villains of our little movie are the greedy, immoral sons a bitches BP (British Petroleum). We see BP representatives place profit over the potential loss of human life and environmental damage. This movie is bold in its obvious disdain for one company, and highlights the common corporate ideologies of putting the people under the boot of money and profit. The saying is “an ant has no quarrel with a boot” but Deepwater Horizon says quite the opposite.
When the shit hits the fan, the carnage begins and the action scenes are put together incredibly well. The visuals show us mass panic and monstrous mayhem without the it becoming a Michael Bay exploitive explosion fest. It didn’t become a spectacle of violence and special effects for the sake of it. If anything, it uses these elements to show the horrors of corporate oversight, purely because fat cats want to make more money to fill their pockets. This film shows the struggles of the little guy against evil corporations and it shows that even if you win, sometimes you lose.