Deepwater Horizon

On April 20th 2010, approximately 40 miles off of the Louisiana coast, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank spilling over 3 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also known as the Gulf oil spill and BP oil spill, is the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and cost 11 crew members their lives. It’s also one of the largest environmental disasters in history, who’s total cost to the marine life, fishing community, and entire Gulf coast is still unknown. The film Deepwater Horizon is based on the true story of the men and women who were working on the rig the day of the disaster.

As a new team arrives for a 21-day shift they can already tell something is not exactly right, when the contracted testing crew is leaving without conducting critical tests. The man in charge of the vessel, Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), sets out to find out why the contractors have been dismissed and who let them go. Chief electronics technician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) also goes to question the crew as to what has happened while he was off ship and how long the list is of things he needs to fix. Through a quick investigation by Mike and Jimmy find that BP officials, headed by Vidrine (John Malkovich), are the ones who made the decision. The BP officials chose to assume that everything was fine, and since the Deepwater Horizon was 43 days past their deadline and the rising costs were mounting. Their decision was that it was time to cap the well and move to the next site. That didn’t sit well with Mr. Jimmy, as most of the crew call him, so he demands that one more test is to be run before anything else happens.

The BP officials remind him of the cost and loss of money but eventually agree to the test. The initial test fails but before additional test can be run Jimmy is called away to another part of the vessel. With the addition test being inconclusive, and Mike and Jimmy not around, Vidrine pressures the crew to push forward and move on. Reluctantly the crew and Jimmy agree to move forward. A frustrated Jimmy retires to his crew quarters to get ready for a long night. Mike heads to his shop to video chat with his wife and start the monumental task of fixing all that is wrong aboard the Deepwater Horizon. At about 10 PM the entire vessel was rocked by an explosion. With that the crew rushes frantically to try and stop an even greater disaster and make their way safely off the Deepwater Horizon.

Director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Hancock, The Kingdom) does a great job of holding a steady pace throughout this film. The story moves well and once the action begins the intensity and suspense left me on the edge of my seat. The casting is great with Dylan O’Brien, Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriguez and others joining the previously mentioned Wahlberg, Russell and Malkovich. In focusing on the men and women who were on the Deepwater Horizon and their families it makes it a very creative an emotional tribute to the 11 men who perished that night. It does paint the large oil company (BP) as a villain, driven by profit to a point of recklessness, in a way that may be a little too political for some. I found it an informative story, showing a different side to a very well-known disaster.

5 out of 5