Thoughts on “Deepwater Horizon”

by weslar


Take it from me a lot of action films do the same thing. Which is the eagerness to get to the explosions, to get to the thrill of an action-blockbuster, nothing wrong with that. But in some instances as a viewer you don’t get to fully understand the reasons why you should care for the characters. Yet, it’s not that you don’t care, it’s that you can’t indulge in their lives to get a bigger picture.

Deepwater Horizon in name of an offshore oil-rig takes centre stage for the traumatic events that unfold during the 1 Hr 40 minute explosive feature. The rig as big as it is presented, it’s the intimacy of disaster creating a confined and claustrophobic space trapping you inside with the crew you’re following.

The power of family is surmountable to the fear of death. The desperate struggle of knowing what Mike is dedicating his survival to his family evokes emotional tethers within anyone watching – it definitely makes a point of the determination that Mike feels, that his sub-conscious is what drives him to escape the nightmare, being returned to his wife and daughter, Felicia (Kate Hudson) and Sydney (Stella Allen).

The film takes the slow build-up approach where we see more normality of routine, play-by-play of the role taken by Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) on board, using jargon that is quickly simplified to not over complicate the audiences experience. Connected friendships between crew, Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) & Andrea Fleets (Gina Rodriguez) complicates the inevitability of the disaster feeling more and more strenuous, knowing the reality of the subject matter, and what could possibly happen to these people he cares so much about.

The crew all interact with rough interaction, an ‘everyone understands each other’s jibe’ approach. Giving a sense of cohesion of the crew that spends long enough with each other could have. Adding layer upon layer to their relationships and personalities.

The reality of the tale being told – that of terrifyingly fact based accounts – and the reality that those crew members lost are real, taken horrifically on April 20th 2010 in the worst Oil-Rig disaster in US history adds to the gut-wrenching losses presented on screen in such full-force impact.

When push comes to shove due to the unwillingness to fail, to lose profit in eye of danger is Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Kaluza (Brad Leland) the typical business types at BP who see money and nothing more. This insistence in going through with an obviously flawed plan causes the mess to erupt almost immediately.

When it comes down to pressure, nothing is more insatiable to the sense than the unnerving presentation of the forceable future – that of 10 minutes in the future – that will come to fruition unbearably described by incurably pulse-racing indications from the pressure building up in the pipes ready to erupt as if mount everest was ready to blow. The scene building is full of decisions made and ones that shouldn’t, the film lets you see what the characters don’t, tying an ever increasing knot in the pit of ones stomach.

The pacing never never forces action over context – the characters are real people – that their experiences are that of fact and not fiction. The approach was as delicate to not over exaggerate but to put you in a place to have a better sense of the events that will unfold.

The overall experience relishes in the build-up and the obvious peril that will befall the 126 crew members on board. That giving us the facts and the reality is enough to stir our emotions before the disaster even begins. And in the end leaving us with deep sadness, due to the raw nature of the disaster.