Movie with Shane: Deepwater Horizon
By Shane J Alliew
Based on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Director Peter Berg gives us a semi-fictitious account of one of the greatest oil rig tragedies compressed into 107 minutes.
Deepwater Horizon is an oil drilling rig operated by Transocean and is all set to begin drilling off the southern coast of Louisiana on behalf of BP. Yet trouble sets in early as Engineer Michael “Mike” Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and rig supervisor James “Jimmy” Harrell (Kurt Russell) soon learn.
It’s always about saving the pennies and spending the pounds. The duo are surprised to learn that the workers assigned to pour the concrete foundation intended to keep the well stable are being sent home early without conducting a pressure test, at the insistence of BP company man Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich).
Moreover Vidrine now overrides Mike’s presence and orders a pressure test on the already weak foundation. He has his own logic, mostly originating from the fact that BP is ‘bleeding’ having already spent millions of dollars waiting 43 days for the oil and he is ‘answerable’ back home to a board.
The pressure tests do not look good but it’s always the case of an insatiable greed that cause one to negotiate around safety corners; remember the Bhopal gas tragedy? Vidrine orders the well to be opened through the secondary connection.
It’s almost too good to believe that the pipeline will hold and in fact a few minutes into the operation, it gives way and there is a massive blow out with oil spilling like a fountain. Soon there’s a free for all as a combination of equipment failures leads to a fire and there is no way that the rig can be saved.
Of course in the bargain there are a few lives lost, some heroically, some tragically; yet the incident remains etched in the minds of the local community and families involved.
Is Deepwater Horizon about BP and the tragedy they caused to a highly commercialised nation, which suddenly wakes up when a catastrophe like this occours? Well, the disaster, I believe takes place already when voracity gets the better of sensibilities.
Deepwater Horizon like it’s older classics Apollo 13 and Titanic is more human-centric, telling us once again that men and women who leave their homes, their families, their kids and siblings to come out to work and real human being, flesh and blood and no matter whatever, whoever says or compensates, the loss is irreplaceable.
Even though there is lot of technical stuff out there, through the dialogues and for a lot of times as a layperson one would not get it right, the human emotions shine through and the thriller has quite a grip on you. There are times when the creaking of the door or the walking footsteps across the floor thrusts one into a jerk in one of the horror films and then we smile.
But in Deepwater Horizon the creaking of the metal rings the death knell and we know what’s going to follow.
An interesting watch over a quiet weekend, Deepwater Horizon is heroics and we know what’s the end like but watch it nonetheless.