Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Matthew Sand and Matthew Michael Carnahan
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien
Running Time: 107 minutes
Synopsis: Based on the true life events of the explosion and eventual sinking of Deepwater Horizon oil rig in 2010, leading to the world’s worst disaster oil spill.
Seen at: Cinestar Imax, Lahore
Based on the New York Time’s article Deepwater Horizon’s Final Hours, the movie chronicles those hours of pure horror as explosion strikes the oil rig leading to chaos and mayhem and the eventual rescue of the 126 crew members.
Mark Wahlberg plays the hero Mike Williams, who leaves behind his wife and daughter to join the rest of the crew on the oil rig. Joining him are Mr Jimmy, the leader on the rig, and a young staff Andrea Fleytas.
The first part of the movie is all about the setup and the second part is when disaster strikes.
We get to meet the various people working on the rig, their job responsibilities, the mechanism of how oil is drilled. There is a lot of tech talk and to the uninitiated like me, it was getting too dry. The “psi pressure” and “rpm” of the “fans” were slightly making me lose interest though I felt like that whatever it was they are talking about, it must be authentic. The BP executive comes across as the villain who has a debate with Mr Jimmy about conducting the “negative pressure test.”
It is in that test that things go awry and undue pressure builds up beneath the rig.
Once the pressure breaks free, it’s hell let loose. With oil spilling all over the rig, along with multiple explosions and various structures crashing down, it’s incredible how the people trapped inside came out alive (11 people died though). It is in the second part of the movie which draws the viewers in and takes you on the incredibly horrifying few hours of the disaster.
With each explosion, you could feel the tension. With each trapped crew member covered in oil, you could feel the terror. Will they or won’t they make it? There is dreaded fear all around and we root for these people. I have to admit that watching these moments brought out the chills in me: I felt I was right there with them (the joy of watching such a movie in Imax!). There were moments when it felt a little like Titanic/ Poseidon Adventure/ Towering Inferno but in the hands of Peter Berg, the movie is handled deftly and masterfully. So immersed was I in the movie, I was questioning what I would have done had I been in that situation, which to me a sign of the success of the movie.
I was not expecting but the ending of the movie became rather emotional, despite the almost non-existent character development. These are everyday people who were carrying out their everyday jobs. To have gone through such a disastrous and scary experience can shake you to the core. Mike Williams reaction after the rescue is a genuine reaction and will bring out the same emotion in you.
Essentially, Deepwater Horizon captures those last few hours and does sway the viewers to develop anger towards BP (who we find out were let off easily!). We do not get any information about what happened at the trial, who was entirely responsible, the aftermath of the oil spill and the ecological damage it caused. So in short, while we do not get any character development or a more rounded, complete storyline, we do get a skilfully handled disaster piece which takes you right into Hell.
3 out of 5