Review of 'Deepwater Horizon'

deepwater_horizon.jpg In April 2010 the offshore drilling exploration rig “Deepwater Horizon” was destroyed in a massive explosion. This film is a dramatisation of the circumstances leading up to the disaster and the heroic efforts of it's crew. Chief Electrical Engineer, Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and general operational supervisor, Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russel) return to the Deepwater after leave to find that BP engineers, frustrated with the lack of progress, have bypassed various safety protocols to attempt to get the project back on time. Despite this obvious problem the engineers manage to convince that all is well though, of course, the reality of the situation is far from perfect as exceptional pressure at the drill head leads to the inevitable disaster. The horrific events that follow dramatically unfold on the screen focusing on the efforts of Williams as he attempts to rescue members of the crew while the rig burns around him.

An amazing and spectacular story. Though slow burning the build up to the eventual disaster always lurks below the surface so the climax is never much in doubt. Wahlberg is typically one dimensional despite attempts to flesh out his character with his interactions with his wife as well as the crew, it never entirely convinces with only rare changes to facial expression as the rig disintegrates around him. Russel is more convincing as the hardened supervisor who, despite himself, is drawn into the overwhelming determination of the BP engineers to persuade him of their misguided conclusions. It is never in doubt where the filmmakers (and, to be fair, the world) believe the blame lies.

The effects are amazing and incredibly visceral bringing the viewer deep into the action as the rig explodes. Completely believable and staggering in their scope it is hard to believe this is a film. The reality of the actual events really helps us to understand the true scope of the disaster which most will have only caught in a short update in the news. People died and in horrific circumstances.

Perhaps not Oscar material but a compelling and moving film.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2018-10-07

Directed by: Peter Berg

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Year: 2016

Length: 107 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure