‘Deepwater Horizon’ (2016, 12A)

Is ‘Deepwater Horizon’ the disaster film we’ve been waiting for, or is it just a bit of a shipwreck?

Inspired by the true events of the BP oil spillage, ‘Deepwater Horizon’ follows Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and the rest of the crew aboard the oil rig, the Deepwater Horizon, as they board the rig to start their work for the next three weeks. But, it soon becomes apparent that things aren’t all as they should be, and safety measures have been overlooked in an effort to keep costs low, leaving the Deepwater Horizon dangerous. Thus, it’s not long before things go catastrophically wrong —  and Mike Williams is caught in the centre of it.

I must say, I enjoyed this film a lot more than I should’ve done. In recent times, disaster films haven’t been that great, and I’ve decided not to watch most of them due to their poor reviews and their trailers just not grabbing my attention. ‘Deepwater Horizon’, however, appealed to me from the get-go, most likely because — unlike most disaster films — the plot had an ounce of truth behind it, and was not focused on some form of apocalyptic disaster that could never happen in real life.

When I say ‘an ounce of truth’, the plot of this film is actually quite true to the real-life events it’s based on, unlike most ‘based on a true story’ movies hitting theatres recently. There were some things that I thought must’ve been dramatised when watching ‘Deepwater Horizon’, but in research, I’ve discovered a fair amount of the events in the film mirror those in real-life. I commend the film-makers for this, as sometimes true stories are better left untouched.

One thing I did like about this film is the amount of tension it built up. Even before the main characters get to the oil-rig, there’s foreshadowing imagery of the rig’s eventual demise, like a coke-can exploding, an engine blowing etc. Then, once on the rig, the continuous cuts from the people above the surface to the pipe below continue to build the tension, pictures of the rushing oil and mud with the scenes of the workers shouting and arguing all helping to draw you in. Then, finally, it all ends in spectacular flames as the ‘Deepwater Horizon’ explodes and the crew members fight to get to safety.

This film isn’t completely brilliant, however. I felt the ending was a little bit rushed, although by no means did I think it wasn’t satisfactory for the film that had preceded it. It’s also been mentioned in a few other reviews that the filmmakers made no effort to show what the oil spillage did to the environment around the Deepwater Horizon, save only for the featuring of a crazed, oil-covered bird flying madly around a vessel’s bridge.

Overall, ‘Deepwater Horizon’ is a brilliant action-disaster movie, full of tension and sure to get your heart racing. However, the slightly rushed ending and lack of insight to the consequences the oil spillage had on the environment means I’ll have to give this film nine-out-of-ten.



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