Deepwater Horizon is a historical drama disaster film about the tragic 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), which caused the deaths of 11 workers, the injury of 17 others, and what’s considered to be the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. The movie revolves around Chief electronics technician (Mark Wahlberg), Offshore Information Manager (OIM) Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), and their colleagues fighting to survive after a combination of a massive blowout and a chain of malfunctions – due to BP executive Donald Vidrine’s (John Malkovich) insistence to cut corners – results to a disastrous explosion on the ocean oil rig they’re on, 40 miles away from the coast.
I don’t know how accurate this movie is, but it frames what happened to the Deepwater Horizon MODU as an outcome of another appalling case of reckless but unpunished corporate greed, and, in contrast, a shining study of how normal, everyday people can find the courage in themselves to make heroic sacrifices for others in the direst situations. Such is the reflective, emotional message that this movie emphatically hits home on its audience.
The direction builds the narrative tension well, sets up the events in a seamlessly coherent flow, and provides solid camera work (especially on the action visuals), while the cast gives compelling, believable performances all around – especially from Wahlberg, Russell, and Malkovich. The result of these is a very entertaining movie. Which might be a bit distasteful to say, considering the tragedy it’s based on. But that can’t be helped, as far as the inherent purpose of the medium is concerned. As a movie, Deepwater Horizon truly delivers the thrills and enjoyability.
That said, the movie never intrinsically comes across as insolent – even in a subtle manner. Rather, it projects a general sense of respect to the real-life event and the real-life people involved. Nevertheless, it also holds true to the requirements of a typically noteworthy disaster action thriller.