Reliving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Lars Torres, Staff Reporter

On April 20, 2010, 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico, the BP PLC oil rig called Deepwater Horizon exploded in the late hours of the evening due to massive equipment failure, human error and other mistakes in terms of the stability of the rig and its drilling capabilities. The results were 11 deaths, multiple injuries and 4.9 million barrels of oil spilling, making it the worst oil disaster in U.S. history. “Deepwater Horizon”  is the story of the 126 crew workers as they attempted to survive and persevere through a long, harrowing night.

The film specifically follows chief electronics technician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) as he and his crew mates, embark on a three-week stint on the Deepwater Horizon. Other key members are rig chief Jimmy “Mr. Jimmy” Harrell (Kurt Russell), Horizon equipment navigator Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez), drill worker Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’Brien) and the difficult and stubborn Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich).

The executives are attempting to hastily advance the progress of drilling operations on the Horizon, much to the crew’s chagrin, as they are fearful of the poor stabilization of the rig.  As the crew members attempt to work as effectively as possible, corporate pressure ultimately comes to a head, leading to a dangerous drilling operation despite last-minute tests giving results both for and against the operation. The following chain reaction of unfortunate events leads to a massive explosion and destabilization of the rig.

The film subtly presents the events of that fateful day for the first half of the film as we get to know details about some of the workers on the rig, allowing us to connect with them before the inevitable occurs. The acting is top-notch, with Wahlberg giving his best performance in years as he embodies a vulnerable Mike who is attempting to survive and save his friends in the fiery storm engulfing them. Russell is fantastic as the fatherly chief of the rig, and Rodriguez and O’Brien also act remarkably well.  Additionally, Malkovich, while typically good in this role, creates a character so slimy and detestable that he becomes the caricature of a sinister corporate executive.

The main spectacle, however, is the second half of the film, where the remaining 45 minutes are devoted to the explosive power of the incredible special effects as the Deepwater Horizon starts imploding in itself, and fire and mud become incredibly deadly and ominous obstacles.  There is an eerie brutality and unwavering tension that will grip you until the credits roll, along with the emotional rollercoaster that continues through this section, where the film becomes an honorable and moving tribute of those who were lost in the disaster. There’s a sense of sincerity and subdued patriotism throughout, and it is done well.The movie never goes overboard with what is presented, and in the end all is well and good.


Film: “Deepwater Horizon”

Directed by: Peter Berg

Release Date: Sept. 30

Rating: 4.5 out of 5