Deepwater Horizon: Film Review


It’s hard to believe this happened five years ago but I’m sure we all remember reading about the massive explosion at an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and its devastating impact on the environment. Despite it being thought to be the largest marine oil spill in history, I never knew the name of the rig or anything about its explosion or those who died so new disaster movie Deepwater Horizon sheds light on that side of the story and gives us a blockbuster-style retelling of what went down.

The story is mainly told through the eyes of Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) who is heading to the rig off the coast of Louisiana, where he works as an engineer, leaving behind his wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) and their daughter. His boss is Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), but they have to answer to the “company men” at BP, who are cutting back on safety checks because the project is massively over-budget and delayed. When BP man Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) agrees to a negative pressure test, something becomes jammed in the pipes and eventually causes a blowout, aka a uncontrollable release of oil and/or gas, which causes a fire, and basically s**t hits the fan.

That plot summary makes it sound like I know what I’m talking about but I really didn’t follow much of the plot and dialogue leading up to the blowout. It’s pretty technical language and unless you work on a rig, you probs won’t have a clue, and I’m one of those people who likes to understand everything. As long you get that not doing checks is bad and the pipe is jammed, you’re golden. This is kinda like a mindless blockbuster, you don’t need to know this stuff, it’s just setting the scene for the big disaster and explosion extravaganza.

Wahlberg was perfect casting for the blue collar/everyday hero. He looks like an engineer, he injected humour into the earlier scenes and he is a believably selfless. Russell and Hudson were wonderful additions too – he was aptly pissed off at the BP men and she helps show the impact of the disaster on loved ones stuck on land. I also liked Gina Rodriguez, who maintains the whole structure of the rig, because she really helped bring the gravity of the situation home – she was scared and conflicted about how to proceed. And you guys know by now that I love Dylan O’Brien so that casting was brilliant too. The only odd one was Malkovich, who had the weirdest accent. I couldn’t place it at all.

The audience’s patience will be paid off with the very dramatic explosion scenes. It does get a bit crazy, like oil/mud flying everywhere, so much fire, and then the structure collapsing. It did remind me of Titanic in places, especially when people are injured down in the lower decks. But don’t fear, this is nowhere near as emotional and just an entertaining watch. It does gloss over the environmental impact but that would have ruined the ending of the film tonally because it was more focussed on the heroes and the eleven who lost their lives.

In cinemas Thursday 29th September 

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