Director Peter Berg (Patriot’s Day, Lone Survivor) brings us the true story of the 2010 oil drilling disaster off the Gulf Coast of Mexico which became the worst oil drilling accident in US history with the deaths of eleven people.
Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight, Bone Tomahawk) plays Jimmy Harrell, the person in charge of the rig, whom all the workers depend on and call “Mr Jimmy”. This affectionate name appears to be out of respect for his commitment to look after them, their safety and for the knowledge he holds.
The captivating role of BP worker Vidrine, John Malkovich (Zoolander 2, RED 2), who pushes the rig to the limits, against expert advice, in an effort to achieve company targets.
Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor, The Fighter) is Mike Williams, down to Earth, brave Safety Technician whom, it is not surprising, the film focused on.
Deepwater Horizon follows a fairly standard disaster film layout, where you know something is going to go wrong from the start. It could be compared to Alfonso Cuarón Orozcos’ 2013 film Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in the way the disaster pans out and the fight for survival begins. This is done splendidly with suspense building, showing the internal workings of the rigs pumps and sea bed shots with gasses escaping. Despite there being a lot of CGI for the big scenes it seems very realistic and well thought out.
Although the environmental impact was not emphasised hugely, there was a poignant moment showing a single panicking bird covered in oil flying into the Bridge of a ship and dying.
Acting is very believable and the story really makes you feel for all involved, wildlife included. There is clearly resentment for the actions of the BP workers after this disaster. A profound sense of compassion is felt for the people on board Deepwater Horizon and for their families as the experience of this traumatic and tragic disaster must live with them forever.