Deepwater Horizon portrays the true story of an offshore drilling oil rig that exploded in 2010, creating the worst oil spill in United States history. Mark Wahlberg plays chief mechanic, Mike Williams, in a performance that remains grounded in a sense of realism. This is what makes Deepwater Horizon so fascinating – it is your traditional ‘disaster movie’ because it encapsulates and recreates the intensity of the event, but it doesn’t feel too manufactured for the big screen.
Many disaster movies have the tendency to be incredibly overwrought, but Deepwater Horizon authentically depicts the gravity of an event that claimed eleven lives and had rippling effects across the world. The film details the stories of the crew members battling BP executives – the latter of whom are so hungry for profit that they ignore objections from those on the ground and dispute a negative pressure test result so they can start drilling immediately.
Director, Peter Berg, creates an intense on-screen time-bomb, and by the time the disaster strikes, the tension is already unprecedented. Explosions and the constant gush of oil, both in partnership with the sound design, is incredibly effective to say the least. The film offers no reprieve, and does not shy away from the incredibly raw reactions of the people caught amongst the disaster.
It is a rare disaster epic that thrills, without sacrificing detail for an easily-digested plot.