'Deepwater Horizon' - Movie Review

Updated: 17 December, 2016 14:20 IST | Johnson Thomas |

Though everything seems routine in 'Deepwater Horizon', there's enough human connect to keep the audience involved. Stunt work and CGI are top notch making this experience amongst the more fulfilling disaster movie experiences in the recent past

Deepwater Horizon - Movie Review
'Deepwater Horizon'. Pic/Deepwater Horizon Film's Twitter account

'Deepwater Horizon'
U/A; Action-drama-thriller
Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich


This ‘based on a true story’ disaster movie is about the horrendous Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosions, (which stands as the worst ecological incident American history) that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, igniting a massive fireball that killed several crew members while leaving several more badly burnt, otherwise injured and traumatised.

This film comes at you in two distinct halves. The first has us getting involved in the intricacies of family lives of the crew – mainly Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) who is the Chief Electronics technician on the rig and is at home for his regular onshore break. We get to know his family, wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) and school going daughter, before he heads off to work. Next on line is Elderly statesman on the rig, the man who makes the security decisions Jimmy (Kurt Russell) and then another of its younger employees, Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez). By the time these three are on board the helicopters a few nefarious BP executives are added to the mix and on the rig itself there’s that villainous Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) just waiting to make the biggest error of judgement of his lifetime.

The conversations on the rig are liable to go over your head (unless you are a tech guy yourself). Most of it is about the piteous state of the rig, the poor maintenance with stirring arguments questioning the viability of its very operations. We get the point even though it’s all dry and too technical. There’s not much time for character definition in a film like this because once the she-bang-boom occurs it’s time to get the hell out of the raging ball of fire. But there’s enough tidbits thrown in during the friendly banter to make them fairly likeable. So when their lives are at risk you want them to come out of it alive.

Since oil rig parlance is not everyday conversation, and added to that - Berg’s efforts to give the technicalities strong focus, the audience may not really get the intricacies and degree of difficulty that the rescue in such a precarious situation, involves. So the second half for us is mostly about a big bang, lots of mud and oil bursting forth from the sea bed and then the explosion that burns almost everything in its wake. Director Peter Berg, who is a past master at ‘the disaster film’ makes an all out effort to get the explosion look as big as only he can make it. The fire is humungous and intense to say the least and by then we are looking for Mike, Jimmy and Andrea to come out alive.

Donald Vidrine we hope will get his comeuppance for risking so many lives for a foolish cutback target. While some of the technicians jump onto life boats and steer themselves to the waiting ship, Mike has to rescue Jimmy and Andrea from the burning fireball that was once their workplace. It’s heroic and Mark and Kurt look good in the act. Though everything seems routine there’s enough human connect to keep the audience involved. Stunt work and CGI are top notch making this experience amongst the more fulfilling disaster movie experiences in the recent past.

Watch trailer of 'Deepwater Horizon' 

First Published: 09 December, 2016 12:42 IST

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