Saturday, January 14, 2017

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Buy Deepwater Horizon on Amazon Video
Written by: Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand (screenplay), Matthew Sand (screen story), David Rohde and Stephanie Saul (article)
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Brad Leland, Ethan Suplee
Rated: PG-13

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

A dramatization of the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling rig exploded in April 2010. In this movie, Mark Wahlberg must save the day.

It's an incredible experience. Few movies get your blood pumping as hard as this one. This is a disaster movie that keeps you engaged from the beginning. While it has lots of explosions, it has just enough dialog and character development to give the bigger scenes an emotional impact in addition to the visual.
The tension and anticipation is incredible, before it becomes a mad dash to escape. Each scene continues to build an ominous mood, and it doesn't disappoint.
Watch it.

The movie is based on the 2010 oil rig explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. It is the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history. It caused 11 deaths, the fire lasted for 2 days, and oil continued to leak into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days.

A judge ruled BP's actions were "reckless" while Transocean and Halliburton, who were involved in operating the rig, were "negligent."

There are a few specific movies I'll watch no matter what; time travel, baseball, Bill Murray, or Kurt Russell.

This had a great trailer and I was hoping for just a decent movie. It's much better than that. This movie is absolutely incredible at building tension.
The very first scene is ominous. We don't know what's going on, but we know that air bubbles leaking from the ocean floor is a bad thing in this scenario. Just in case we didn't get it, Mike Williams's (Mark Wahlberg) daughter gives us a quick presentation on what her dad does using a soft drink can. The can explodes, though it wasn't' supposed to. It's a tease in every single way. We know what's coming. It's a light moment, but oil rigs deal with situations that react unexpectedly.

I like that this starts early. We don't start on the rig. We see what it takes to get onto the rig, letting you know just how remote it is. They have to fly a helicopter to the rig, and of course a bird hits the windshield, providing a quick jump scare. All these things add up, building that mood.
At the same time, the movie builds a camaraderie between Andrea (Gina Rodriguez), Mike and Mr. Jimmy (Kurt Russell) in just a few minutes. The dialog between the crew, quick verbal jabs, does a great job of making the people feel real.
A clever moment is when Mr. Jimmy tells an executive to remove his tie. When the guy asks why Mr. Jimmy states that magenta is the color of the worst alarm on the rig. When the rig later has a magenta alarm, we already know that's bad.

When they get to the rig Mr. Jimmy discovers that the BP executives are forgoing critical tests since the project is behind schedule. John Malkovich does a great job as the corporate villain. Throughout all of these scenes, air bubbles rising from the ocean's surface are intercut to build to the moment of critical failure.

The larger question is how many times did BP skip critical tests before to save a dollar? It's value engineering by saving money on a foundation. It was bound to fail. This is the Mark Wahlberg perfect storm where everything happened concurrently and blows up.

If you're like me and wondering how an oil rig gets power, they often run underwater power cables, though some run generators.

Back to the tension, which is inescapable. We're waiting for that moment, and it could happen at any second. We know something is wrong. It's inevitable. When the shots begin cutting back and forth quickly to different crew and everything gets quiet, you know it's coming.

This kicks off, with an explosion that rocks every floor of the rig. It's devastating, but it doesn't stop as things just get worse. How bad will it get? Mike tries to find Mr. Jimmy as the entire crew struggles to stop the out of control well. If the well isn't shut things could get bad. This is the best edge of your seat thriller I've seen in a long time.

The ending hits hard as we see stock footage and images of the eleven men that died on the oil rig.

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