Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Deepwater Horizon: A Drama Bigger Than Life About a Disaster That Was Bigger Than Life

Movie Review: Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Version: Library Borrow

Deepwater Horizon is a dramatic retelling of the 2010 oil drilling disaster offshore of Louisiana. It features a fine cast and awesome special effects to do right by the fateful events of that horrific day when BP (British Petroleum) let the bottom line put lives at stake and cost the lives of nearly a dozen hardworking men drilling for profits on a floating drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

The cast is led by Mark Wahlberg as Mike Williams and Kurt Russell as Jimmy Harrell, who arrive by helicopter to take over their shift as BP executives rush to bring the rig online and finally pump oil and make some money. But on the shift before, BP had made the serious mistake of forgoing critical pressure tests. Mike and Jimmy force the issue on their shift, the BP executives allowing a minimal test that seems to show no problems. But things go horribly wrong and deep sea valves can't take the pressure, sending mud and then water and then gas up the pipes, blowing up the floating rig, starting a fire no one can squelch, killing 11. A nearby ship ordered by BP to standby to load oil is there to rescue men ordered to abandon the rig, who jump into the sea. Families back on land hear of the disaster at sea and are desperate to hear news, but are told little.

The drama focuses on the events on the platform at sea and then the eventual rescue and reuniting with family on land. There is a final scene of Mike and Jimmy giving evidence in court, but what you mostly witness is the foolishness of the BP executives and the bravery of the men on the rig. The scenes are cataclysmic. They don't leave much to the imagination. In the end, in every frame you can feel the trauma of those who suffered the disaster.

Deepwater Horizon is a first class disaster film done right. It touches on a moment in history we should all remember, and it gives us a glimpse into heroism, the consequences of foolishness, and results of refusing to give up when doing what's right is what is best. This drama is bigger than life because the disaster was bigger than life, at a time when lives were truly at risk.

I can say without a doubt, you should see this film. It honors those who died by telling in excruciating detail how they died. But this isn't gratuitous violence, this is truth.

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