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Deepwater Horizon review

Posted by admin on October 3, 2016



In this day and age of climate change, the world still runs around the oil wheel. It’s easy to see why it’s called Texas gold; it powers so many elements we live on (vehicles, houses, machines, etc…), and it’s use only tends to grow. Because it’s taken millions of years for this fossil fuel to develop, it’s getting scarcer then ever and we’ve engineered ways to retrieve it deep in the ocean. As I learned at EPCOT when I was nine, most of the oilrigs in the ocean are taller then the Empire State Building. I can certainly admire how far we’ve come to make that vision become a reality.

The darker side of the picture is that these oilrigs are owned by major companies and they make a lot of money off of this energy. This has made it easy for their greed to make the majority of the decisions, regardless of the environment.

One of their decisions caused the 2010 Oil leak of the Gulf of Mexico. It spewed millions of gallons of petroleum making it the worst oil disaster in US history. The story of the ship that started it is retold in the dramatic disaster film, Deepwater Horizon

We start on the morning of April 20, 2010 where Chief Electronics Technician Mike Williams (played by Mark Wahlberg) is waking up with his wife Felicia (played by Kate Hudson). He’s leaving for another round on the Deepwater Horizon oilrig, which is out on the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the other people joining his is supervisor Jimmy Harrell (played by Kurt Russell), navigation worker Andrea Fleytas (played by Gina Rodriguez) and the rest of the oil workers. Coming on board in BP (the company in charge of the Deepwater Horizon) is corporate man Donald Vidrine (played by John Malkovich).

Jimmy and Mike make it clear to Donald that the ship and it’s machines are in need of great repair and that it’s errors have placed a lot of strain on the oil well. It seems to be releasing gas pressures higher then usual, but Donald see’s this as routines and orders to run tests as scheduled. Just as history as taught us, the pressure of the petroleum proves too much, causing it to erupt and set off a series of explosions. Or that night, Deepwater Horizon became a floating Hell as the surviving oil workers get off before it’s too late.

Directed by Peter Berg and staring Mark Wahlberg, Deepwater Horizon has a similar feel to their previous collaboration, Lone Survivor. Again, the focus seems to be more about the experience rather then a character study. While the later felt more empty then it should have been, this style works much better here. This film is set up more like a disaster film, which means you know your going to get an exciting series of action, but not so much in character. This proves similar here as it was hard to distinguish personalities from the various people on that ship (I think they were hoping the actors playing the real life characters would fill the gaps).

Much of the dialogue consists of a lot of how the oil rigs work and the controversies surrounding the age of their equipment. A lot of that was hard to follow, with the exception of the material aiming to make BP the villain here. Though I was alright with that, I could tell the majority of the audience was waiting for the rig to go off and get on with the action scenes. Had more work been put into the first half, I would have proclaimed this as one of the best of the year. But as a simple disaster movie, it was an entertaining story about survival.


I’ll give this three and a half oil sill updates out of five. Overall, I felt like the experience was genuine, but I wish the characters would have been more interesting to follow. While I’m sure they took creative liberties, this is a case in which I would have wanted more in order to make a better movie. Sometimes changes are needed to tell a better story. If you can, see this on the big screen if you really wanted to know what being on the Deepwater Horizon before that tragic oil spill. 


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