Six years on from one of the largest manmade disasters of all time, Hollywood reintroduces the story of Deepwater Horizon, the failed oil rig, reminding us not of the horrors that were inflicted upon the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the explosion, but instead showing the lead-up to the demise of the oil rig itself.
The story has two main chapters; 1) introduce the crew, 2) watch the disaster, gobsmacked.
In act 1 we meet Mike Williams, (Mark Wahlberg), and his family, including his wife Felicia, (Kate Hudson). Mike has a complicated and unusual job on the oil rig in the middle of the Gulf, where he leaves to go for a 21 day placement. At the start of this placement on board, touring the facilities are a team of BP executives including John Malkovich, who plays a particularly villainous role, with his molasses-thick Louisianian tongue and shifty grin. (Still to this day, I cannot help repeating in my head, “Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich”, whenever I see his face.)
Once our characters have been established and the technical jargon of the rig has been covered, we discover that BP are majorly cuttin’ corners and we’re going to run a complex test to check the pressure of the well.
Shit hits fan, right now. Sit back and skewer some marshmallows, this fire is not going to go out for quiiiiiite a while.
Aside from the incredibly riveting buildup of tension here, both in terms of the storyline and in the pipeline up from the “well from Hell”, I was overwhelmed at the sheer magnitude of the rig, the force of the explosion and subsequent fire.
It didn’t help that my neighbour was clicking his pen relentlessly and chewing the kernels of his popcorn but that only goes to demonstrate how nerve-wracking this situation was to watch!
I left the cinema with a newfound appreciation for oil rigs and how they work, wondering what crude oil smells like and noting just how shitty it would be to die on an exploding oil rig covered in said oil.
In the end I highly enjoyed this film and would be quite fascinated by a sequel depicting the court cases and ensuing charges BP faced and then managed to wriggle out of in the following years.
– Ash Mosen