The tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon and the Gulf of Mexico will continue to happen as humanity refuses to acknowledge the dangers of oil drilling and pursues more fuel beneath the ground. Peter Berg takes on another harrowing event of historical significance in this intense historical spectacle. Mark Wahlberg takes on the lead role as Mike Williams, Chief Electronics Technician, who survived the exploding oil rig. The movie takes a news story and brings down to a personal level showing interactions between Mike and his wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) right before he leaves to work on the rig.
The story also revolves around bridge officer Andrea Fleytas played by rising star Gina Rodriquez. Kurt Russell plays the cautioning Offshore Installation Manager Jimmy Harrell who demands more tests and wants the company to give him more time. As the corporate villain of the film, John Malkovich plays Vidrine, a BP company man with a Cajun accent. Rounding out the impressive cast is a recovered Dylan O'Brien as roughneck Caleb Holloway.
Berg infuses the film with tension as viewers already know what is going to happen though I was unsure of exactly how. The routine checks and pressure tests keep the first part moving forward intermixed with flashes of the deterioration of the ground as the drill pushes deeper and the pressure builds. When the drill finally blows the spectacle is awe-inspiring, terrifying, and tragic. The movie does not let up from this point on as the crew members struggle to survive as the rig crumbles around them.
The explosions are intense and the violence cringeworthy with members being pelted with flying debris and burned by the raging flames. The movie balances the gripping horror, adventure entertainment, and tragic consequences of poor judgment. Wahlberg has his star power charm, Russell is enjoyable to watch on screen again, and Rodriguez shows signs of a promising career. The movie is not overcome by all its aspects like the historical pressure, the current event status and the need to be an action film.
Early Fall is an interesting time for movies as there are the films like this one that could be award contenders but just end up being highly entertaining and moving films. Berg is especially good at making films like this with Lone Survivor and upcoming Patriots Day also starring Wahlberg. The repercussions of this event could follow us for decades to come but it is interesting to get a closer look at this tragic disaster.