By Paul Hall
Oil. It drives countless industries and provides income for the men and women who search for it. An entire industry thrives in the gulf with jobs for countless residents on the platforms that float on the water’s surface. The new movie Deepwater Horizon from director Peter Berg focuses on the platform of the same name and the men and women who make it operate.
Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) seems like a regular guy working on the Deepwater. He has a loving wife, Felicia (Kate Hudson), and a beautiful daughter, Sydney (Stella Allen), who rely on his work. When he leaves for his newest three-week tour, he promises to return with a fossil for Sydney for her school project.
Mike is just one part of the team that makes the Deepwater successful, a team that is led by Mister Jimmy (Kurt Russell) and has an impeccable safety record. They are even being presented with an award for their safety prowess. But they alone don’t control the platform; they have to take orders from the ultimate bosses at BP.
The tale that everyone knows the ending to — the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil gushing into the waters off the coast of the southeastern United States — also had a beginning and heroes who had to perform despite harrowing circumstances. This is that story.
And that story has a heart. Much of the news of this horrible accident has been focused on the spill and the environmental impact of what took place. Instead, Deepwater Horizon gives us a look at the men and women who felt a personal cost.
Wahlberg’s Mike Williams is a man we could have a beer with, but whom we also would trust with our lives. He brings that Everyman quality to Williams as a man who does everything within his power to do right by the rest of the crew. John Malkovich is a classic bad guy here as the BP representative who forces the action that causes the spill despite the objections of the people who do the job every day.
Berg’s vision for the film enthralled me. Much of the heavy action in Deepwater Horizon occurs at night, in the dark, enhancing the sense of desperation and confusion the crew confronted.
This is an action film with a highly dramatic core that grabs viewers from the start and takes them on a thrill ride. Real-life heroes like Mike Williams deserve praise and we shouldn’t lose sight of what they did for their friends in the face of adversity. There was a drastic environmental impact on that fateful April day, but there was an even more drastic personal impact on the crew of the Deepwater Horizon. Heroes are all around us just waiting to help at the drop of a hat.
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich
Director: Peter Berg
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