DEVELOPING ... FIRST LOOK: "Deepwater Horizon" Frantic Destruction Overlooking Environmental Consequences

Updated 1 year ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
DEVELOPING ... FIRST LOOK: "Deepwater Horizon" Frantic Destruction Overlooking Environmental Consequences
Photo: Summit/Lionsgate

You will not want to take a cruise or work over water after experiencing a gripping gaze at Peter ("Lone Survivor") Berg's "Deepwater Horizon, " a spellbinding compression  of an oil rig disaster that recalls and borrows more elements from the 70s Irwin Allen franchise ("Poseidon Adventure," "Towering Inferno") than reality leaning docu-drama.

Possessing many of the 'disaster' genres best thrills, Berg avoids one of its haphazard cliches that of dumping on unnecessary characters setting up soap opera romantic scenarios which divert from the catastrophe. Sticking with minimal familiar faces, the heart tugs more so at their actions and fate.

Stranded on an above the water equivalent of a  submarine, claustrophobic resonance rapidly jells, but the intensity subdues a bit during on land scenes and the quivering  underwater steel pipes.

"Jaws" preached how risking lives for tourist bucks on a pristine beach backfired. "Deepwater" has a similar foundation on a mega-scale. The oil drilling rig is nearly 50 days behind schedule and bleeding millions for its owner BP.  John Malkovich plays the principle corporate operative pushing construction crews to skip safety hoops .

Simply, "Deepwater," unlike a ten second controlled demolition, ignites like a slow burning fuse of intentionally missed maintenance and fudged tests which gradually "sinks" the rig. Comparison to "Titanic" --- less the romance and luxury --- came from a female viewer. Once the blasts begin, you will be immersed by the frenetically-paced ripping apart of the above water and under water rig.

The fire from the hole and burning oil in  the Gulf of Mexico instill wonder and tribute to a crew that escaped with only fifteen perishing. This is hell on high water and nowhere to jump.

Left out of the film, except in subtitle, is the horrendous environmental destruction that continued erupting for nearly ninety days. BP management was indicted for manslaughter, but those criminal charges were dropped.


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