3.5 out of 4 stars
by Bayard Lewis
The worst oil rig disaster in U.S history may seem like a distant memory now because it happened almost seven years ago. For the families of the Deepwater Horizon crew, the accident still carries deep scars. 11 people were killed and the ensuing blowout lasted 87 days, causing an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mark Wahlberg plays engineer Mike Williams, who expressed reservations about beginning drilling when an essential safety test was brushed aside by the BP company men on board the rig. Both he and rig supervisor James Harell (Kurt Russell) are uncomfortable with the situation, but burdened by the weight of weeks of schedule delays and millions of dollars
The heightened sense of anticipation is tested several times before the oil well actually blows. We know what’s going to happen, but the editing still succeeds in creating nail biting tension from the tests before the blowout occurred to the last moments of rescue.
Director Peter Berg brings a similar style used in “Lone Survivor”, with walls of sound and an immersive environment brought to life by one of the largest sets ever constructed. Two million pounds of steel and other materials were used to recreate the rig. The level of realism achieved creates a somber reminder that the horrific events on Deepwater Horizon were not only preventable, but could be repeated if greed outweighs safety. This is one of the most intense films not involving war I’ve seen in my lifetime.