Tony's Take


deepwater-horizon-posterWhen Faced with Our Darkest Hour, Hope is Not a Tactic

On April 20th of 2010, an oil rig, named the Deepwater Horizon, located just-off the coast of Louisiana suffered a major blowout and erupted into a major oil spill, spilling over 200 million gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.  Over the days that followed, most of the story centered-around the oil, but the real story is what happened on the Deepwater Horizon.  The film follows the crew from Transocean as they arrive for their three-week stint on the vessel.  Upon arriving, a few issues begin to catch their attention, such as: being 50+ days behind schedule, machines malfunctioning, and many more.  Too speed up the completion of the well, as they want to commence pumping oil, they perform a few negative pressure tests to please the BP officials on-board.  After receiving an odd result, they decide to test only the kill line.  This ends-up being a costly mistake, one that not only completely destroyed the Deepwater Horizon, but also cost the lives of some of them on the rig.  The rest of “Deepwater Horizon” recounts the heroism and bravery that was shown in the face of certain death.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Mike Williams, a higher-up on the rig crew who can fix almost anything.  Kurt Russell plays Jimmy ‘Mr. Jimmy’ Harrell, the head of Deepwater Horizon’s crew.  John Malkovich plays a BP higher-up on the Deepwater Horizon, Donald Vidrine.  Gina Rodriguez plays another crew member, Andrea Fleytas.  Dylan O’Brien plays Caleb Holloway, another crew member.  Kate Hudson plays Mike’s wife, Felicia Williams.  Ethan Suplee plays a machine operator named Jason Anderson.  Douglas Griffin, James DuMont, Joe Chrest, and Brad Leland all play BP officials.  Henry Frost and Jeremy Sande have roles in the film as well.  The director, Peter Berg, also has a brief cameo.

“Deepwater Horizon” is a harrowing and intense film that simultaneously encapsulates as well as explains what went wrong to cause the biggest man-made disaster in US history.  The film does an excellent job of using the human factor, reminding us that these are not just characters in a movie; these are real people.  As he did with “Lone Survivor”, Peter Berg finds a beautiful way to blend fact with fiction, changing a few details to add to the overall film experience (this is not a biography).  While I am no expert on the matter, it seems clear to me that Berg has taken a few liberties with the story.  Even though we realize we’re witnessing the brutality of what happened on the Deepwater Horizon, the film’s visuals are stunning.  Not only do they show you first-hand how dangerous deadly the explosion was, but also how trapped they truly were.  The film also succeeds due-to its pacing, which is quick and steady throughout the films entirety, leaving you on the edge-of-your-seat once the foreshadowing ends and the disaster begins.  “Deepwater Horizon” also does a beautiful job of honoring those of lost their lives on April 20th, 2010; leaving us all feeling a little emotional as they show pictures of them right before the end credits.  At times the film can become a little confusing, as they rattle-off their jargon and vaguely-explain how these things work, but I never found myself to be overly confused and it certainly never disturbed my experience.  “Deepwater Horizon” has a run time of 107 minutes and it flows flawlessly from start-to-finish.  ‘Deepwater Horizon” is a surprisingly-effective and entertaining affair, that provokes plenty of though and emotion as-well!

“Deepwater Horizon” follows the explosion and ensuing oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon and the miraculous humanity that was shown in the face of certain death.  The film features impressive visuals, a strong core of actors, and a very entertaining and emotional story.  If you are heading to the movies this weekend, “Deepwater Horizon” is definitely worth the price of admission!!  AND SEE IT IN IMAX!

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DEEPWATER HORIZON is rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language, in theaters SEPTEMBER 30TH!

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