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Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon also known as “Horizonte Profundo - Desastre no Golfo,” “Horizonte Profundo: Desastre en el Golfo,” “Horizonte Profundo: Desastre no Golfo,” “Horizonte profundo,” “Marea negra,” “Mélytengeri pokol”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language.

Reviewed by: Pat Jacobs

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Action History Thriller Drama IMAX
1 hr. 47 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 30, 2016 (wide—3,259 theaters)
Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Summit Entertainment, a division of Lionsgate Films

Deepwater Horizon oil spill (Wikipedia)

dealing with a disaster

bravery /courage

importance of hope

dangers of oil drilling—personal, financial, environmental

dangers of cutting corners to save money

Featuring: Mark WahlbergMike Williams
Kate Hudson
Kurt Russell
John Malkovich
Gina Rodriguez … Andrea Fleytas
Dylan O'Brien … Caleb Holloway
Ethan Suplee … Jason Anderson
Joe Chrest … David Sims
more »
Director: Peter Berg—“Lone Survivor” (2013), “Collateral” (2004)
Producer: Closest to the Hole Productions
Di Bonaventura Pictures
more »
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.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Wow! The tension builds deliciously as we watch the situation develop slowly into the inevitable blowout, and the action scenes are frighteningly real. Because it is a true story, the impact hits you like a blow to the stomach. All the overblown action of comic book fantasy heroes pales in comparison with real men and women doing heroic deeds. The profanity is largely buried in the scenes of panic and death, and there is group prayer, that probably happened, as most workers hailed from the Bible Belt. I’m somewhat biased towards this movie, as I spent most of my life searching for the best places to put these rigs, but this is a must-see movie for anyone over about twelve.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Brian Schacht, age 69 (Canada)
Positive—My Aunt took me and my brother to see the movie, and we thought that it was great, but I didn’t like for them to use the Lord’s name in vain; it was uncalled for.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Charlene (USA)
Positive—This movie was fantastic! Edge of the seat type of movie, because of the excitement involved. There were some swear words, but if I was on that oil rig when it exploded, I’d be swearing, too. It was awful, people died and were hurt. The ocean was heavily damaged. The movie was very sad in this regard. They did show a married couple in bed, with an underwear shot of them giving indication that they were going to have sex, but they cut it off and didn’t show this. Thank God. This was not needed and they focused on the story, instead. I knew about the oil leak, but did not know the rig exploded. It was a story needing to be told and they did a tremendously great job of acting it out!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—CJ Piarowski, age 57 (USA)
Positive—Frankly, I found the movie a bit on the boring side, essentially split in two parts. Part one: a bunch of guys running around and sitting around doing nothing about something they're supposed to do while the clock ticks away. Part two: hundreds of scene after scene of the fires on the rig (A+ for special effects), but very redundant. Amazingly, the language was incredibly clean based on typical Hollywood standards, especially for a disaster movie, (i.e. unlike the filthy, immoral, overrated, nonfactual “Argo”).

All in all, it was very good, just could have used more of a story-line, perhaps some sideline plots to make it more entertaining. But as a Christian, I definitely rate this one as one of those rare Hollywood movies that I would recommend for other Christians. Overall I liked it, good entertainment value. If you like special effects, you'll love it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Dave , age 57 (Canada)

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