I feel strangely drawn to all disaster movies. Perhaps it’s our human instinct to look at these horrific events and A. try to learn something from them, probably how to stay alive if we were ever in one and B. feel lucky we’re not in one while we’re watching this movie. Deepwater Horizon is a disaster movie about the biggest oil spill in human history and it’s definitely worth watching. It features stunning visuals accurately depicting the sheer scale of the explosion and subsequent leak. But it also tells the human side of the story with solid character development. However, the two things I liked most about it were the running time and pacing.
Deepwater Horizon is a movie with a relatively short running time of just under 95 minutes and a very deliberate pacing. If I hate something, that’s when these movies start running in circles and strangling the story. Add to this a bit of melodrama and you got yourself quite an uneven 2-and-half-hour monstrosity. To be fair, there will be some sappy moments here but since this is a true story, I’m willing to let them go. Balancing them out are all these technical details about underwater drilling and these megastructures. I felt like I was watching an engaging documentary about a subject I didn’t even know interested me.
Plus, the tension is fucking palpable from the first second. I mean, you know that the shit is going to hit the fan, the only question is when. And possibly just how much shit although the answer to that question is pretty simple: a lot of shit. When things started malfunctioning a cold sweat came over me like I was fucking there! The cast did a good job, led by a generic lead man, Mark Wahlberg, and veteran playa Kurt Russell. This is Russell’s second water disaster as he also stars in the 2006 movie Poseidon. Oddly enough, sixteen years earlier, Wahlberg also found himself trying to survive a similar situation in The Perfect Storm.
On April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon, an oil drilling rig operating off the southern coast of Louisiana was working flawlessly. Workers were happy they were nearing the end of their shift when things started to go wrong. One after another, safety measures failed and soon this oil rig turned into Hell on Earth.
Did you know that most of Deepwater Horizon was shot on an oil rig built just for this movie? 3.2 million pounds of steel was placed inside a 2,000,000-gallon water tank, making this oil rig one of the largest practical sets ever built. Finally, I just want to add that I think they went too fast through the explosion and the aftermath. This could be just me wanting to see more of that gripping narrative but I think that half an hour for these two very important parts of the story is just not fair. At least we got that actual footage and pictures at the end.
Speaking of which, I also think we just glossed over BP’s responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But that’s a story for another time, I guess.
Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand, David Barstow
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Ethan Suplee, Brad Leland
Fun Facts: A lot of the oil rig workers were against the movie as they felt it could dishonor the memory of the Deepwater Horizon explosion victims. However, some of them liked the idea, including a couple of survivors.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1860357/