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Summary / Analysis
Times of India
Workers, engineers and corporate heads try to escape the Deepwater Horizon oil rig after a devastating explosion.
Deepwater Horizon lies somewhere between an epic disaster movie and a dramatic retelling of a devastating incident. But it definitely leans more towards the former.
It even follows the disaster-movie rulebook: first, we see the tiny cracks that will blow up into something bigger. Next come the happy-sleepy lives of soon-to-be victims, followed by aerial shots of the explosion site in pristine condition. And finally, we're thrown into the eye of the storm.
Mike (Mark Wahlberg), Jimmy (Kurt Russell) and Andrea (Gina Rodriguez) all report to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig for duty. Jimmy soon realizes that the company that commissioned this drilling expedition is ready to overlook safety measures for quick results. He tries to put his foot down but loses to corporate hierarchy. Work resumes and soon enough, tragedy strikes.
The highlight is a scene where Mike’s daughter uses a soda can, a metal tube and some oil to demonstrate on a small scale, what will eventually happen on site. It is part of the beautifully cut trailer that raises expectations.
But the expectations start to plummet when, 45 minutes into the movie, you have oil rig jargon coming out of your ears. The screenplay, adapted from a New York Times article, sadly only picks up the technical details, leaving the human stories behind. The explosion thus comes as a much-needed adrenaline shot that boosts the movie into action-extravaganza territory. It is enjoyable hereon, but it beats the purpose. Instead of underlining the horrors of the incident, the movie glamorizes the explosion as a Michael Bay-esque plot point that leads to heroic survival tactics.
In a surprisingly understated performance, Mark Wahlberg is convincing as a regular oil rig worker who finds strength within. He even gets a few chuckles out of you. Kate Hudson's vulnerable wife act brings calm to the chaos.
As an informative piece on the catastrophe at the Deepwater Horizon, the movie just doesn’t dig deep enough. But as a visually rich disaster movie, it passes the test.
An oil rig was built just for this film. This rig is located in Chalmette, Louisiana where most of the film was shot. It has been coined as the largest set piece ever built.
The film's producers contacted Mark Wahlberg and told him that they wanted a screen combo with an older and younger male lead together. Wahlberg started to contact some of the older actors he knew, like Jack Nicholson. But, to his surprise, the producers wanted Wahlberg to be the older lead, with someone like Dylan O'Brien being the younger one.
The actor Graham McGinnis, portraying the Coast Guard Lieutenant, is an actual active duty Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer stationed at USCG Airstation New Orleans.
Mark Wahlberg reportedly stayed in his character on set, in between each scene and take.
A role was offered to Emma Stone but she declined as the script was still being worked on.
The film is based on the oil rig that exploded in 2010, causing the largest oil spill in history.
The movie opens with the shots of cracks forming at the bottom of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig; the beginning of a massive accident.
Weâre then pushed into the lives chief technical engineer Mike Williams, his supervisor James, the rigâs navigation officer Andrea, etc. They set out to reach the rig for regular duties, but little do they know what fate awaits them. Some corporate changes in the rig have led to lower safety measures; the crew is livind and refuses to comply with these changes.
Head honchos of the owners of the rig force the crew to carry out multiple pressure tests which would prove dangerous to the functioning of the rig. They don't pay heed to the warning of the technicians and keep testing, till the pressure goes over the limits and an oil explosion starts destroying the rig.
Mike, Andrea, James, along with all the other workers on the rig try to escape as the rig goes up in flames, claiming many lives and pushing the survivors to extreme limits.