Director: Peter Berg
Screenplay: Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand
Screen Story: Matthew Sand
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien and Kate Hudson.
Based on the article written by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephani Saul: ‘Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours’, Deepwater Horizon is about one of the largest man-made disasters to have ever occurred.
Ultra-deep-water drilling off the coast of Louisiana, the rig suffered a massive blowout after pressure caused oil to explode up the pipeline. The oil then caught fire destroying the rig. The disaster killed 11 people and leaked 50,000 barrels of oil into the ocean for 87 days.
Deepwater Horizon is about putting the audience in the midst of the disaster, about pressure from the depths hard to fathom. In fact, the whole scenario is difficult to get my head around because I’m not an engineer nor a deep sea drilling technician that understands drilling and pressure and the forces of rotting dinosaurs from a previous millennia. And there isn’t a requirement to have this knowledge as the film shows the staff, doing what they do, without dumbing it down for the audience.
The story is shown in a way where you get it. That the mud is used to contain the pressure of the oil, so that if it’s oozing up the pipes onto the rig, that’s a bad thing: the mud isn’t stopping the pressure. And if that dial goes to a psi in the red area of the dial, that’s a very bad thing.
That’s what I liked about the film. Being right there with the people working on this monstrous rig.
Mark Wahlberg as the Transocean chief electronics technician, Mike Williams, gives a great performance as an everyday guy doing his job. And Kate Hudson as the wife waiting at home keeps the cheese to a minimum – it’s all about down-to-earth folk just dealing with it.
Wahlberg and director, Peter Berg, have worked together previously in the film, Lone Survivor. Another survival story about making tough decisions. Berg doesn’t use cheap tricks to tug the heart strings, he just tells a tale with an authentic flavour and Wahlberg plays the no-nonsense hero well. And the simplicity and straight forward telling of Deepwater Horizon gave the story more impact and power. It was left to the audience to feel the emotion.
I love a good techy film and Deepwater Horizon filled the bill with great camera work to show the scale undertaken to drill into the depths of the ocean; and the explosion and visual spectacle of the disaster was totally believable on screen.
There was a glossing over of the politics of dealing with BP, but covered by the interaction between Donald Vidrine, the BP company man played by John Malkovich (he plays a villain just so well) and Kurt Russell as Mr. Jimmy who was the offshore installation manager.
Rather than the politics or emotional drama, Deepwater Horizon was more about the confrontation of the disaster itself. And I liked that.