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Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Reviewed by on Sep 30, 2016
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the true-life disaster film Deepwater Horizon about the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that blew and spilled 210 million gallons of oil in to the water. Is the movie a must-see?

By: Lynn Barker

In 2010, when Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) went to work on the off-shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon as Chief Electronics Tech, everything seemed normal. The well the rig had drilled was supposed to have been cemented closed until the oil company could come and pump out the oil 3 miles below Gulf waters. When methane gas started leaking into the ventilation system, it was the beginning of a chain of hellish events leading to well blow-out and massive fire.  Would Mike survive?

Mike (Mark Wahlberg) fixes old smoke alarms in his officeMike (Mark Wahlberg) fixes old smoke alarms in his officeCourtesy of Lionsgate

Just Another Shift

Oil rig techie Mike Williams cuddles with his cute wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) and is very proud of his tween daughter’s show and tell project all about his job on a deep water oil platform “looking below for compacted dinosaurs that became oil”. Mike goes off for a 21 day shift on the rig and all seems normal.

Mike at home with wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) and daughterMike at home with wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) and daughterCourtesy of Lionsgate

Did Anybody Cement the Well?

At the rig, BP oil company boss Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) is happy to hear that the outgoing crew has cemented the well, indicating that drilling is over and BP can now start pumping up the oil. Crew boss Mr. Jimmy (Kurt Russell) isn’t so sure the job was done or done right. Mike explains that so many systems are broken on the rig that it’s a wonder anybody knows what is happening at all! He is basically ignored while a reluctant Jimmy gets a “safety” award despite the fact that drilling this “well from hell” is over 40 days overdue.

BP man Don Vidrine (John Malkovich)BP man Don Vidrine (John Malkovich)Courtesy of Lionsgate

Pressure Tests

The crew decides to do negative pressure tests to learn if the well is okay and will hold. Although readings are “iffy”, the tests seem to work. Vidrine is pleased. Meanwhile, drillers on the “drill floor” of the rig are clueless that something just isn’t right but driller Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’Brien of the Scorch Trials movies) is suspicious. A series of equipment, safety and human failures lead to methane gas leaking into the air circulation systems on the rig and it is downhill from there.

Caleb Holloway (Dylan O'Brien) and Mike check out the rigCaleb Holloway (Dylan O'Brien) and Mike check out the rigCourtesy of Lionsgate

The Big Bang

Caleb notices that mud is gushing up to the drill floor from the well but nothing is really done about it until it is too late. The well blows sending gas and oil from miles below up through the rig. Mike is decked by a flying door and Mr. Jimmy is knocked out in the shower. Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez) in charge of keeping the floating platform stable wants to call out a mayday help message to shore but is prevented by the captain on the bridge. Oil and gas lead to a massive fire. At home, Felicia learns that the well has blown, there is fire everywhere and workers are jumping into the sea far below.

Andrea (Gina Rodriguez) during happier times on the rigAndrea (Gina Rodriguez) during happier times on the rigCourtesy of Lionsgate

The Heroes

Mike, Caleb, an almost blinded Mr. Jimmy and others work to get survivors into lifeboats or rafts despite horrible odds. When at last cornered by heat and flames, Andrea is afraid to jump ten stories to the ocean far below.  Will she, Mike, Caleb, Mr. Jimmy and others, including the semi-evil BP boss Mr. Vidrine survive?

Mr. Jimmy (Kurl Russell) on the bridge during pressure testsMr. Jimmy (Kurl Russell) on the bridge during pressure testsCourtesy of Lionsgate

Wrapping Up

Deepwater Horizon is a horrifically-good portrayal of the damage that extreme corporate greed can cause. And great at embodying that greed is actor John Malkovich who has played twisted, bizarre villains many times before. As a corporate oil company flunky in this film, he seems outwardly more “normal” but the cold interior he hides beneath a semi-decent Louisiana company man, is just chilling!

The rig on fireThe rig on fireCourtesy of Lionsgate

Mark Wahlberg does his usual strong everyman character justice in his portrayal of a working stiff who repeatedly warned superiors that safety issues were so ignored on the rig that disaster was almost inevitable. Although underused, Kate Hudson is believable as his wife, a stay at home wife/country girl who stands by her man. Kurt Russell is stalwart as Mr. Jimmy the crew boss who reluctantly has to kowtow to company greed.

Felicia (Kate Hudson) talks to Mike via SkypeFelicia (Kate Hudson) talks to Mike via SkypeCourtesy of Lionsgate

During the very fast-paced explosion and fire sequences, editing moves along so fast and shakily that I wasn’t sure what was happening to who but the horror looks real enough to rivet you to your seat.

An oil-soaked Mike tries to decide what to do nextAn oil-soaked Mike tries to decide what to do nextCourtesy of Lionsgate

If disaster movies are your thing, Deepwater Horizon is for you. If true-life stories of heroism against horrible odds ring your chimes, or if you just like Mark Wahlberg, go see this film and be further warned that the greed of big corporations will sadly, always win out over the welfare of hard-working, well-meaning humankind. Oil wells and pristine waterways just don’t mix. We go four stars.

Deepwater Horizon Movie Rating:4

Deepwater Horizon PosterDeepwater Horizon PosterCourtesy of Lionsgate

Deepwater Horizon is in theaters now!


Have Your Say

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