Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon

(2016)

Inspired by a true story of real life heroes.

Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich star in this disaster film based on the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion - the incident which saw 11 workers killed, 17 workers injured and a massive oil spill leak into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the deemed the largest environmental disaster in US history.

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Flicks Review

Peter Berg's film about the Deepwater Horizon explosion almost entirely ignores the enormous environmental impact of the disaster, focusing instead on the build up to, and immediate human cost of, the event.... More

It's a fair enough tack considering how the environmental impact was what the media focused on when it happened, and if the film's goal was to humanise the people caught up in it, then it very much succeeds.

Berg has always displayed a knack for authentic portrayals of specialists in high-stakes fields and he establishes a nice "blue collar at sea" vibe amongst the characters here. Wahlberg is at ease and on auto-pilot as a heroic electrician, but it's Kurt Russell and the generic background faces that help sell the reality of life aboard an oil rig. Gina Rodriguez, from TV's Jane The Virgin, makes her presence felt as the rig's helmswoman.

Berg is also able to effectively dramatise the drilling itself, and the film generates much tension from the visual portrayal of the massive forces at play under the water. When the explosive finalé arrives, it's an impressively huge set-piece.

The film's decision to consign the oil spill itself to a post-script title card doesn't mean it's lacking in righteous indignation: BP management, represented by an especially serpentine John Malkovich, are shown to be unequivocal in their favouring of money over safety.

Deepwater Horizon isn't a life changer, but it's an effective true-life thriller with an authentic weightiness to what's on screen.Hide


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 7 ratings, 3 reviews
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BY cinemusefilm superstar

The moral of most man-made disaster films is that when civilisation disrespects nature the results can be catastrophic. Such films work best when we get both sides of the story: the why and what happened on humanity’s side, and nature’s response and effects on the other. It is clear that big money was involved in the 2010 oil-rig disaster that is examined in Deepwater Horizon (2016). In fact, there is so much at stake that the most significant part is left out of the film: the immediate and... More long term effects of the worst ecological disaster in American history.

Instead of the full story, the film offers as spectacular a dramatization of an oil-rig explosion that digital effects allow. The one-day plotline is simple and tight. It starts with a human interest back story of Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) having time off as boss of the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig, and his home life is sweet. Kissing wife and daughter goodbye, he heads off for a 21-day rig shift and on the helicopter ride we meet the British Petroleum bad guy executives. Tension lines are drawn immediately between Mike’s safety maintenance role and the ‘hurry up and make more money’ pressure from the company.

A great strength of this film is its ability to convey the dirty, claustrophobic and technology-dependent world of offshore oil-drilling. It is full of whiteboard diagram explanations, fear-inducing instrument dials with pointers drifting into red zones and grim-faced technicians who sense something calamitous is near. It also shows a grimy environment in which humans strip non-renewable resources from deep in our planet, all for profit. When poor safety and maintenance practices lead to the massive blowout and explosion, the film is at its best in portraying a veritable Dante's Inferno on water. Hyper-realistic imaging conveys uncontrolled gushing oil, roaring flames, and flying bodies in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.

The camerawork draws you into the rig with a colour palette that leaves the taste of petroleum in your mouth, but the chaos during the worst of the explosion is beyond cinematic capture. For a large part of the film it is difficult to know what is happening, but that would have been the case when it really happened. If this film intended to be a tribute to the heroic crew, both those who survived and those who did not, then it falls short. Typecast performances are effective in distinguishing the good guys from the bad, but that is all. Nor does it acknowledge the devastation that followed the disaster. It does, however, fill a gap in public awareness about this catastrophic event and that is an achievement.Hide


BY flapper123 superstar

My, my and didn't ths disaster make global headlines. I am glad that this story is about those people who worked this oil rig. The scenes that spoke volumes to me was towards the end of the film when all survivors had made it aboard the ship Did help really arrive, when all the crew and workers were off the rig? The roll call of all those who were known to have been on rig and the crew kneeling down and reciting the Lord's Prayer. This film captured what audiences don't hear about, the... More bravery, intensity, decision making, fear, claustophobia and most of all FAITH. Great acting from the cast I am sure they had the people they portrayed in mind when filming.Hide


BY JackWallace superstar

Deepwater Horizon. Liked it, didn't love it. Good acting, some intense sequences, emotional ending. I think I enjoyed Peter Berg's Lone Survivor more. Not a must see, probably wouldn't watch it again, but still pretty good. Grade: B-


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The Press Reviews

82% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The film depicts the worst oil spill in American history and director Peter Berg recreates the cataclysm of that day with unbearable tension and healing compassion. Full Review

  • Wahlberg doesn't act, he just projects himself, and his naturalness makes a cool counterpoint to Russell's glowering integrity and Malkovich's lip-pursing villainy. It's nail-biting stuff. Full Review

  • This year's ultimate guilty pleasure at the movies. Full Review

  • The anger and grief you feel leaving the theater constitute a kind of catharsis, a modest symbolic compensation for the failure of justice in the real world. Full Review

  • Accusations of tastelessness have some justification - if your priority is to respect the dead, why hire the director of 'Battleship'? Full Review

  • An efficient and no-nonsense depiction of the worst disaster in US oil drilling history, buoyed by excellent performances. Full Review

  • For a movie in which you can't follow what's going on for 75% of the time, "Deepwater Horizon" proves remarkably thrilling... Full Review

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