“Deepwater Horizon” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

29 September, 2016

Director: Peter Berg
Screenwriters: Matthew Sand, Matthew Michael Carnahan
Director of Photography: Enrique Chediak
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich

Synopsis: On the 20th April 2010 a shockwave reverberated around the world as an American drilling rig collapsed off the Gulf of Mexico. Five million barrels of discharged oil later, the event and subsequent aftermath is now considered to be the biggest accidental oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

Deepwater Horizon Review:

While it may have been created for the sole purpose of entertaining mass audiences, “Deepwater Horizon” is a remarkably poignant take on a disaster that changed dozens of lives forever. It’s a film that takes its time as it steadily compacts character development with layers of bubbling suspense. Glimpses of impending chaos are seen and tremors are felt as the film ensures that the moment the geyser strikes you’ll feel it rattling through your bones.

Before it even reaches the crescendo, “Deepwater Horizon” speaks simultaneously to both the informed and the uninformed viewer as the logistics of the various health and safety breaches are laid out through technical mumbo jumbo but always capped off with some form of understandable explanation. Even the opening scenes foreshadow later events as easy-to-remember analogies are used explain the reason for the entire disaster. A coke can and a tub of honey become a metaphor for an irreversible tragedy waiting to strike on the horizon and it’s a simple point of reference in a rather complex chain of events.

The second half of the movie is the most cinematic, spectacular experience you could ever expect from a movie of this kind. It’s a ginormous display of scale and survival as explosions obliterate pressurised capsules and cranes pummel into groups of helpless offshore workers. When the disaster really gets going, “Deepwater Horizon” is an unremitting rendition of a life or death situation with gruesome injury detail presented alongside a story of heroism and resistance.

Despite occasionally stumbling into heavy-handedness, particularly with the obligatory nods made at the end to the real life victims and survivors, “Deepwater Horizon” is peppered with a number of neat visual motifs. From an oil-covered pelican to a room full of BP morons, the film represents an entire industry founded on greed and impatience and the message is all too true at times, especially when the loss of life is conveyed so vividly.

To hear more thoughts on “Deepwater Horizon,” check out the disaster movie special of The Next Best Picture podcast.


Review Date
Deepwater Horizon