Movie Review : Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon is the movie we watched last weekend in The Hague’s Pathe Theatre. For a moment we were doubting between this movie and Inferno. Watching the Inferno trailer it looked to us like a (expensive) rehash of the DaVinci Code, so we decided to head for Deepwater Horizon.

I was not familiar with the original story of the mobile oil platform and the horrific accident in 2010. Under time pressure for rigging results, the platform would ultimately completely destroyed after some human failures with safety and testing procedures. From the trailer it looked to us like a detailed documentary style movie about how events developed until the final shocking disaster. Although the movie did try its best to put some detail in the events and circumstances, above all it remained a simple disaster movie. People make wrong decisions in the first part of the movie, things spiral out of control in the middle part and the hero (Mark Wahlberg) sacrifices his life to save what is left of the crew on the platform.

The movie starts a bit awkwardly with a family scene where the daughter of the hero-to-be explains the working of the mobile platform because she has an upcoming presentation. Of course it was meant for the movie audience to gain some understanding to the background about what will happen in the next two hours. There are many small talk conversations between the platform crew to create some intimate and sympathy with the characters that soon will be tested to the most horrible conditions. But it is all a bit too obvious to really become acquainted with the crew members and feel sympathy for their suffering to come. The part where the trouble on the platform starts and the platform disintegrates into a big ball of fire is taking too long. Although this should be the most ‘exciting’ part of the movie i felt it became quite boring after seeing one fireball after one other and collapsing structures.

All in all this movie is more about entertainment than offering you a glimpse into what really happened on board of the Deepwater Horizon. The characters are stereotypes (the bad guys from BP versus the good guys from the platform crew) and the script does carefully follow the Hollywood rules of a disaster movie. Nevertheless I enjoyed the performances of John Malkovich as the cynical guy from BP and Gina Rodriguez who played the part of a female crew member. I think the movie might have been more interesting and sticking if it did not follow the typical disaster movie scripting and would have focused more on the events as they really happened.

-Den Haag, October 25th 2016-

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