Reviewed by: Pat Jacobs
|Featuring:|| Mark Wahlberg … Mike Williams
Kate Hudson …
Kurt Russell …
John Malkovich …
Gina Rodriguez … Andrea Fleytas
Dylan O'Brien … Caleb Holloway
Ethan Suplee … Jason Anderson
Joe Chrest … David Sims
|Director:||Peter Berg—“Lone Survivor” (2013), “Collateral” (2004)|
|Producer:||Closest to the Hole Productions
Di Bonaventura Pictures
|Distributor:||Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films|
The script for this film was based on The New York Times article titled “Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hour,” published December 25, 2010 and written by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul.
When you think of the 2010 oil spill that took place in the Gulf of Mexico, images of blackened beaches and dead birds may come to mind. For weeks, crews struggled to contain the damage that eventually forced many people out of business. “Deepwater Horizon” tells another side of this story, dramatically showing how and why the disaster happened through a detailed re-creation of life upon an oil rig.
Mark Wahlberg portrays real-life rig worker Mike Williams, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything that’s wrong with their floating station. For most of the film’s first hour, we learn a lot about what life is like at this worksite, and I was fascinated to learn how complicated, expensive, and dangerous the work can be. 125 men and one woman take helicopters to work, leaving family behind for at least three weeks with the hope that they will strike oil miles under the ocean. These men (plus Gina Rodriguez, playing Andrea Fleytas) are serious about doing their jobs safely, but they feel pressure from British Petroleum (BP) to cut corners and meet deadlines that guarantee them bonus checks, if they can successfully start extracting oil. One BP executive, Vidrine (John Malkovich) is especially persistent in making the crew, led by Mr. Jimmy (Kurt Russell), disregard normal tests they perform before drilling. Malkovich has played so many villains over the last three decades, but I believed his character had full confidence as he asserted that the crew would have nothing to worry about.
This is a disaster movie, so once events begin spiraling out of control, though I know it’s what really happened, I was still shocked and horrified for 30+ minutes. The film shows the crew facing the fire with great courage and professionalism, which prevented a lot more people from dying. There’s just one reference to the environmental/animal damage caused by the oil, and it’s one of the most frightening scenes. It could be tempting to just go enjoy the movie for the thrill of seeing huge explosions and the heroic response shown in the previews, but it’s not just another action movie, because greed and human error probably caused many people to die on Deepwater Horizon.
Nevertheless, I recommend you see this movie, if you can bear to watch people suffering greatly to survive. Though the movie professionally re-creates what happened on the oil rig, the filmmakers missed some opportunities to tell a more complex story, which could have included more of the aftermath, but the story they chose to share is already overwhelming.
Toward the beginning, a married couple is shown beginning to have sex, because they’re about to be separated for weeks, and I found it realistic and inoffensive. Some of the profanity is hard to hear because most of the characters are hard to understand while the disaster is underway.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Heavy—“Jesus” (3), “G*d-d*mn” (4), “d*mn” (1), OMG (2), “Oh G*d” (1), “h*ll” (11), f-word (1 and possible more, but difficult to hear), s-words (50+), “a**” (6), SOB (3), and some crude comments / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy—kiss, shirtless man, man in shower (shown from shoulders up), woman in underwear in bed, man in underwear, partial sex scene, a couple of mild sexual comments
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.