Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon
Starring:
Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez and John Malkovich


Rated: PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language.
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: September 30, 2016 Released by: Lions Gate Films


It takes time but the closing scene in Deepwater Horizon is the dramatic heart of the film.  It effectively draws out emotions which are held during the action packed  center of the film as family members connect after the tragic Deepwater disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Director, Peter Berg skillfully presents the dangerous rigging of the underwater oil drill as if it were a beast on the bottom of the sea (almost like Godzilla) making noise, bagging, bubbling and shaking up to the top of the operation.  It's as if the monster on the sea floor is about to be released and break free to destroy the rig and the working staff who monitor and operate the process of oil mining in the open sea.  

Much is made of the idea that cutting corners to save money when the project is behind schedule. That appears to be the motivation, and the limited inspection which begins the film is questioned by Kurt Russell who is the manager of the site.  Mark Wahlberg plays Mike Williams who becomes the central figure in the story.  We experience Rodriguez hesitant resistance from Gina as Andrea Fleytas when she has instincts to shut down the system, but she is held back by the bureaucratic structure when told, we don't have the authority to shut it off.  

Russell as the manager questions the limited review by a team that did not completely review the deepwater drill complex.  In particular the security of the cement interfaces around the drill which we eventually see are a serious problem.

Most of us remember Deepwater Horizon accident and spillage of oil during April 2010 but there was little news to tell the story of the workers who were on the platform and in serious danger as the beast drill breaks and allows oil and mud to violently push upward and turns the entire location into a massive inferno witch is so powerful it is seen on satellites from space. 

Kate Hudson has a small role but it goes to the heart of the story, which is, what happens to workers on the platform and how will the event effect the families at home.  Her reconnection with Wahlberg brings the human toll impressively home to the audience.  

Viewing the film on a very large screen will bring the destruction, fire and damage powerfully into the audience.  Director Berg perhaps has more action than necessary and not enough about the eleven men who were killed and the trauma the survivors must face, but the action scenes are significantly effective. The explosive action comes on slowly and builds to a massive fire soaked scene in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Oil company BP paid fines, eleven men died, and the Gulf was saturated with oil.  Everyone is aware of this worst oil spill in history, Deepwater Horizon, puts the human toll up front in this disaster film.  

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Deepwater Horizon  B      B-   B                  B 

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