There was not a single moment in this movie where I had a chance to breathe. Once the disaster started, it sped up and snowballed into a catastrophe nightmare that felt extremely realistic.
Deepwater Horizon (2016) is directed by Peter Berg, who also directed the similarly intense Lone Survivor, and stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich.
As well as other great people such as Gina Rodriguez and Dylan O’Brien.
The film is about the true story of the Deepwater Horizon, a large drilling oil rig, exploding in the Gulf Of Mexico on April 20th, 2010.
The explosion was caused by a drilling malfunction that spirals into creating a massive fireball that fatally wounds several members on board.
Mike Williams, the Chief electronics technician, and his fellow coworkers suddenly find themselves struggling for survival as the fire and smoke metastasizes into becoming overbearing and suffocating.
To come out alive, they must work together and use their quick thinking and fast reaction-timing skills in a situation where only seconds count.
The director and writers did forthrightly well with setting up and establishing the characters.
They take great care with making sure that they’re provided enough exposition and backstory so that by the time the oil accident happens, the viewer can really immerse themselves in the experience head-on.
Peter Berg was amazing with directing the story line and making sure we as the viewers are able to closely visualize ourselves in the positions of these unfortunate workers.
They’re not just fictional people that happen to find themselves trapped in a sticky situation and have to solve it in some cheesy way.
They’re realistic, the movie is based off of a true story after all.
Berg also did an effective job of building suspense and dread in me. I already knew the rig was gonna blow up and formally thought it wasn’t gonna be that anxious and tense.
He flawlessly overthrew those expectations so easily when I saw the team members performing tests and experiments to check the integrity of the well.
When they applied the negative pressure test and began arguing with one another due to differences of opinion and safety reasons, I genuinely felt like the suspense was building up, especially with the music in the background that added uneasiness and doubt to the atmosphere.
There was one scene in the beginning that Berg depicted which I thought was super clever.
Without spoiling too much, it basically involves a soda can. It was a great example of ominous foreshadowing of a terrible calamity which was yet to come.
Compelling Writing & Visuals
The dialogue between the characters as well as the cinematography also added greatly to the film.
Before all hell breaks loose, the writers make it a necessity to establish the personalities of the various people on board the rig.
They include humorous jokes and playful teasing meant to be friendly and loosen up the atmosphere.
The story and setting is created in such a way to really make these people as realistic as possible, because they are. I personally felt incredibly invested in these characters and the dire predicament they found themselves in.
Another aspect of the movie I also liked were the visuals and explosion scenes when the rig caught on fire.
It wasn’t your typical Michael Bay Transformers flick where everything has to have a background of a massive, wide-shot, CGI eruption of objects being blown up in an exaggerated way.
Rather, the visual artists made the money-shot scenes look as real and lively as possible.
The fire, mud, and oil being sprayed around wildly seemed authentically lifelike and close up to my head.
My two favorite performances were undeniably from Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell.
They played their roles with strong vigor. Wahlberg in particular was exceedingly funny when he engaged in mocking his fellow colleagues and lightening up the mood.
Russell, with his leader-like qualities and furious care for the rest of his group being showed by confronting the upper management team and telling them of their misguided strategies in handling the affairs of the safety protocols to keep the whole crew away from harmful risk, were developed soundly strategical.
He really portrayed Jimmy Harrell with courageous inspiration and deep insightfulness.
Other cast members such as John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O’Brien also performed well.
I especially could feel the tense, threatening air in the atmosphere when both Malkovich’s and Russell’s characters were in heated arguments with each other throwing around implicit derogatory provocations.
At any moment I was ready for them to just plain throw fists and start grappling.
Their conflicting quarrels really defined both of them and revealed so clearly what they were looking to achieve.
Russell was thinking for the betterment and safety of his team and so opposed Malkovich for not supplying more resources to perform tests to evaluate the integrity of the rig’s blowout preventer.
Malkovich on the other hand was thinking in terms of profits and so tried to find an excuse for not stopping the hole being drilled and therefore continuing the operation, regardless of the dangerous risks it would entail.
In the end, Deepwater Horizon was an intense and nerve-racking ride to go on.
The suspense was dramatically real and I felt it throughout the whole plot.
Knowing that its based on real life events, I like it even more since the people were portrayed so immaculately good.
The bravery and courage these men showed to assist each other was truly inspiring.
Further, the ending was one of the most saddest and tragic moments I’ve seen in movie history.
Peter Berg illustrated staggeringly the effects of what the crew members of this oil rig had to suffer through and how it dramatically changed their lives with their friends and families.
FP Score – Praiseworthy