Deepwater Horizon is a disaster film telling the story of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and explosion that happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Obviously telling the stories of a real life disaster and the people it affected is trickier than a fictional story, especially in such a recent disaster.
Whilst the trailers tried to portray Deepwater Horizon as a film about real heroes, it’s actually less interested with following the characters, instead being about the actual disaster itself. The majority of the film is actually a large build up to the blowout happening. It does this fairly effectively, ratcheting up the tension throughout. The only real drawback to it is the amount of technical language that is thrown at you, which as someone who is about as far from an engineer as you can get did make parts of it too hard to follow.
The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and Gina Rodriguez as workers on the oil rig, and John Malkovich as a representative from BP who represents the company’s desperate desire to make money from the rig, despite the dangers. All of the cast give some great performances. Wahlberg can be hit and miss with his roles sometimes, but here is at the top of his game.
When the disaster hits the film does succeed in creating a real sense of danger and real stakes for the characters, but without being hugely over the top, as disaster films often are. Director Peter Berg deserves a lot of credit for this, doing an excellent job of showing how horrible and chaotic it is in the heart of such a disaster. The ending manages to be moving enough, without crossing into being forced emotion.
All in all Deepwater Horizon is a well-acted, entertaining, disaster movie. And whilst some of the technical dialogue is hard for a layperson to follow, it’s a film that is well worth a watch.