Mark Wahlberg and Dylan O'Brien in "Deepwater Horizon." photo/Lionsgate
Mark Wahlberg and Dylan O’Brien in “Deepwater Horizon.” photo/Lionsgate

One of Hollywood’s newest and most highly anticipated projects, Deepwater Horizon hit theaters Thursday, Sept. 28, and it did not disappoint.

With big names like director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) and iconic actors Mark Wahlberg (Daddy’s Home), Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight) and John Malkovich (Cut Bank), the film had a lot of pressure to do well. The bated breath with which the hundred-plus people who survived the disaster to see whether or not the movie would accurately portray the event did not help either. Yet, despite these burdens, the movie delivered.

Berg excellently pieced together a thrilling and reasonably accurate film. Of course, the movie could not have 100 percent accuracy in such a limited time frame, but it came pretty close, from the set specs down to the psychological responses the crew members had.

Behind the scenes, the director and actors consulted with the real-life survivors to ensure the movie would satisfy them and their families. Survivors Mike Williams and Caleb Holloway, two men that helped fellow crew members during the disaster, were the main consultants.

The most impressive feat was the 85 percent-scale rig the production crew constructed for the set. According to LA Times, about 300 people worked for seven months in a parking lot at an abandoned Six Flags amusement park in Louisiana to build it. Production designer Chris Seagers reported that the set reached heights of 75 feet, with a width of 150 feet and length of 170 feet, all sitting in a tank of millions of gallons of water.

Even the psychology proved impressive. While films like Argo glorify the characters and depict extremes of unrealistically strong-willed or frustratingly weak-minded victims, Berg ensured that Deepwater Horizon showed realistic reactions.

Two instances of realistic reactions particularly outshined the rest. The first depicted Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez’s character Andrea Fleytas freaking out when the lifeboats left her and Wahlberg’s character Mike Williams still on the burning rig. In the movie, Fleytas refused to jump from 10 stories into the water below to avoid the fire. Rodriguez did a terrific job of acting out the kind of psychological breakdown one might have in that kind of situation. Instead of quickly and without question jumping into the water at Williams’ suggestion, her character looked down and immediately began protesting, giving up all hope. She never would have jumped despite Williams’ prompts, but eventually Williams simply threw her off the rig.

Williams’ breakdown at the end of the movie, however, was the real tear-jerker. After the life-changing event, Williams and the rest of the Deepwater Horizon crew all arrived at a hotel, where they would meet their families and face the press. Williams, albeit in a daze, managed to make it to his hotel room without falling apart. But seconds later, although a big, tough man, Williams fell to his knees and burst out crying seconds before his family ran into his hotel room to comfort him. The entire scene, from entering the hotel to crying with his family, was a masterpiece. Not only did Wahlberg do an excellent job of portraying such a dramatic breakdown, but Director Berg skillfully included the audience in Williams’ emotional distress through sound and camera handling.

Not everything was accurate, though. The movie made BP’s representative Donald Vidrine (Malkovich) the villain, when he really only played a small part in the disaster; his bosses held more responsibility for insisting that the crew go through with the drilling. Of course, Hollywood did glorify Mike William’s character a little, he admitted to the Chicago Sun-Times. While his most impressive stunt, jumping from 10 stories into the water, was 100 percent accurate, along with him saving other crew member’s lives, his other superhero-level stunts were nothing more than visual hyperbole.

Overall, everything about the movie came out about as close to perfect as it could get; survivors reported satisfaction. In an interview with The Times-Picayune, Williams commented that he thought director Berg “nailed it.” 

The Hilights

Movie: Deepwater Horizon

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien, Gina Rodriguez

Genre: Drama film

Rating: 5/5 stars

To see the review of Designated Survivor click here. For a review on Sully click here.


By Jessenia Jalca

I'm a senior and the design editor on the newspaper staff. I love God, and I love dogs.

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