Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Although the film has a straightforward plot, it still delivers on well-realized characters, action, and drama.


Deepwater Horizon follows a group of oil drillers who work on the rig called Deepwater Horizon. One day, when the drillers arrive to work, they discover that a routine test wasn’t completed. The leader Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) discovers that the BP owners cancelled the test to save money. He orders them to perform another test before they actually start digging up for oil. When the tests are finished, it isn’t clear whether they should go forward or not. Pressured by the BP owners to go forward with the oil drilling, Jimmy Harrell consents to go forward with the process. The oil drilling seems to be going well at first, but go south really fast when unexpected pressure makes oil shoot up all inside the rig. The oil shoots out really fast, causing the oil to go everywhere and hurting the drillers working inside. With the threat of oil causing things to go haywire, will the drillers be able to survive and get out safely?

Although the film has a straightforward plot, it still delivers on well-drawn characters, action, and drama. Deepwater Horizon, written by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand and directed by Peter Berg, gives us a chance to grow attached to the characters to a point where we care about them. Matthew Carnahan and Matthew Sand structured this screenplay in a way for the film to be divided into two parts. The first part is like a setup where we get to learn about the personal lives of the drillers. We see Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) interact with his family before he leaves to go to work; we learn about Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez), who tries to drive her 69 Mustang to the base, but it fails to start; and we see the drillers tell jokes and pull pranks on each other. From all these scenes, we get a feel for who these people are. The second part is when the massive event occurs. Following the explosion, many drillers have to fight for their lives to survive.

The good sound editing and sound design help us immerse into this film. The filmmakers should be praised for their efforts of making everything sound real. All of the oil spurts and explosions on the rig sound very authentic, heightening the suspense and thrills of the action. The sound of the explosion makes an impact on our minds. As things become more tense for these drillers, we can fully understand the gravity of the situation because of the amazing sound editing within the scenes. While the sound editing does a good job of making everything believable, the well-filmed action scenes keep you on the edge of your seat. The camera crew filmed the scenes all in camera, giving us a clear view of everything going on. Many action movies today film their scenes with shaky cam—which makes things harder to see. The cast and crew should be commended for their hard work. The filmmakers show their respect for the real-life workers who were on Deepwater Horizon that day, by making a movie with good actors, who effectively played these real-life counterparts, and well-crafted camerawork to display the horrific explosion.

The great performances, good drama, and action sequences compile together to make this the memorable action/drama of the year.

Rating: 3.75 out 5

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