Thursday, January 19, 2017

Deepwater Horizon

I should know better than this, but I watched Deepwater Horizon, another Mark Wahlberg film. This is based on the gruesome incident which took place in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. An oil exploration platform basically exploded, killing eleven of the workers. It is estimated to have to have spewed 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf, making it the worst such accident in history. Areas of the Gulf were so befouled, fishing an important industry in that location was suspended for many months. Consequently the prices of seafood to the consumer went up exponentially. Marine life, including fish, shrimp, oysters, and birds was decimated.

In a film with harrowing scenes, one of the worst was before the humans realized the oil was starting to blow. A pelican, by the look of  it (identification was hard because the poor creature was coated in oil.) The bird flew through a window breaking it. Then it kept hitting things as it flopped around in the interior, screaming and panicking. It finally hit its head once too often and collapsed to the decking, a glass shard protruding out of its chest. Yes, I know it was done with CGI, but I couldn't help imagining how rough it was for the biological creatures in the path of the behemoth disaster.

Clearly caused by a gigantic case of hubris from the visiting BP (British Petroleum) execs who ignored warning signs and oil rig workers who pointed out the growing problems on their dials and gauges, this was a tragic situation that could have been prevented.

Led by John Malkovich the visiting execs were well portrayed. In the firestorm caused by the accident, the BP fellows insisted a life raft leave the area only partially filled while others were swimming through fire to get to the safety of the craft. Two of the men were eventually convicted with manslaughter as a result. But were later comment.

Along with Mark Wahlberg and John Malkovich, the cast includes Kurt Russell, his step-daughter Kate Hudson who plays Wahlberg's wife. Also notable is Gina Rodriguez who plays one of the staff minding the dials and gauges. She is responsible for sounding an unofficial "Mayday!" to the crew before her supervisor is sure it's needed. In fact he's chastising her when the whole thing begins to blow.

Eventually, BP had to pay $20 Billion (yep that's with a B not M) to the employees, the families of the deceased, and people whose livelihoods (i.e. commercial fishermen) and property were destroyed in the onslaught of oil that coated the northern Gulf of Mexico.

This is an incredible film, even for a disaster movie. I didn't have the guts to see it in the theater. After seeing Patriot's Day late last week in the theater, I really appreciated my choice of seeing this one at home.

Make no mistake, this is a well-made film, entertaining, shocking, and horrifying in places. Somehow I didn't really want any popcorn, though...

This one's available on pay-per-view with the various cable carriers and is available on rental basis or purchase.

Until next time...

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