Directed by: – Peter berg

Produced by:- Mark Vahradian , Lorenzo di Bonaventura , Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson , David Womark

Starring: – Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien, Kate Hudson

Run time: – 107 minutes (1hr 47mins)


 Inspired By A True Story Of Real Life Heroes

One of the best things about movies is that they have the ability to tell the side of a story many people will not get to see or hear. We talk about events, tragedies and disasters that happened in the news and think that is terrible but as people we never get to see the gravity of the event from the eyes of people who were in the thick of it. This is another movie that looks to do as this movie seeks to provide a suspenseful and inspiring real life account of everyday people whose values were tested in the face of an impending environmental disaster.

Mike Williams (Mark Whalberg) & Caleb Holloway (Dylan O' Brien)

Mike Williams (Mark Whalberg) & Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’ Brien)

For those who don’t remember, the Deepwater Horizon was an ultra-deepwater, dynamically positioned semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean, one of the world’s largest offshore drilling contractors based in Switzerland. Hyundai Heavy Industries built it in 2001 in South Korea. It was registered in Majuro, and leased to BP from 2001 until September 2013. On 20 April 2010, while drilling at the Macondo Prospect, an uncontrollable blowout caused an explosion on the rig that took the lives of 11 hardworking crewmen and created a fireball visible from 40 miles away. The fire was inextinguishable and two days later, on 22 April, the Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the seabed and consequently caused the largest oil spill in U.S. Waters.

Kurt Russell as Jimmy "Mr Jimmy" Harell

Kurt Russell as Jimmy “Mr Jimmy” Harell

Deepwater Horizon takes a look at the harrowing event from the perspectives of Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) a family man who is an electrician and oil rig worker, Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez) , the unit’s only female employee, the Horizon’s chief supervisor Jimmy “Mr. Jimmy” Harrell (Kurt Russell); and Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’Brien) , the youngest member of the Horizon’s crew who prepare for a three-week stint aboard the Deepwater Horizon that was operating 40 miles southeast of the Louisiana Coast, in the gulf of Mexico. Their stay at the horizon gets dangerous and life threatening when BP engineer and rig supervisor, Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) pressure the crew into drilling into the Macondo Prospect ignoring the results giving from the safety inspection tests which as result creates the worst scenario for the workers as the Horizon literally becomes hell on water. Mike, Jimmy, Caleb and Andrea find themselves fighting for their lives whilst trying to get a crew of more than 120 members to safety.

Gina Rodriguez gets to show off her dramatic chops

Gina Rodriguez gets to show off her dramatic chops

Peter Berg is a director who has had mixed results up to this point. Many will remember his good works in the guise of Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom and more recently Lone Survivor which also starred Wahlberg. Others will remember him for his contributions to poor movies like Battleship and Hancock . Like Lone Survivor (which is also based on a true story) , Berg  seeks to re-tell the disaster from a perspective we never saw whilst honouring the men who saved many lives and those who lost their lives during their line of work. With a cast featuring heavy hitters like Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich and Gina Rodriguez, is this Biopic disaster picture worth a watch? Lets take a look at the pros and cons

Hell breaks loose on the Deepwater Horizon

Hell breaks loose on the Deepwater Horizon


  • I like the two-act structure the movie chooses to implement. The first act despite being a little slow uses its time to develop our characters and set up the situation. Other than Wahlberg’s character the others in my honest opinion are drawn with broad strokes but its really not a problem as the character are thoroughly enjoyable to watch and very relatable thanks to the films strong writing. The dialogue is sharp, witty and snappy and it makes the characters feel like real people. For a good chunk of the movie I forgot I was watching actors and felt like I was watching real people. You will simply get a kick out of the crew workers singing songs and engaging themselves with light banter.
  • There are some really impressive performances across the board. Mark Wahlberg put on an immense show as Mike Williams. He plays the happy family man with conviction so much so that when the disaster breaks out you doing nothing but biting your nails hoping that he survives. He manages to be heroic, charming, funny and most importantly very relatable. Kurt Russell gets a great opportunity to stretch his acting muscles again and remind us why he is one of Hollywood’s best. He plays the quirky supervisor Mr. Jimmy who is a very jovial man and one that cares for the safety of his crewmembers. A particular scene that got to me is the emotion he was able to convey without uttering a word when he stares down the films “Villain” Donald Vidrine who is portrayed by John Malkovich. The weird but wonderful Malkovich effectively uses his character to relay corporate greed and their lack of empathy for people.
  • Other notable performances include Kate Hudson who plays Mike Williams wife. Her turn as this character was very believable as she had great chemistry with Wahlberg and felt like an actual character who wasn’t there to show that Wahlberg’s character had a wife like Sully did. Gina Rodriguez despite the fact she didn’t have as much screen presence used what little time she had to show of her dramatic chops considering that she is well known for her TV comedy Jane the virgin.
  • The films cinematography gives the whole experience an authentic feel as the movie effectively combines the use of real life footage and interviews to the view of inside the pipes (even though its CGI) and their gears shifting , the shots felt like actual found footage thanks to its grainy feel. On top of some great shots of the rig the film as gritty feel which helps adds to the films tone.
  • Once the movie drops the pin and enters into the second act the movie becomes a visual spectacle littered with great effects and crazy set pieces during the explosion and subsequent oil spill. The greatest praise I can give to this sequence is it really felt like you were watching a tragedy happen and it became very uncomfortable to watch as innocent men began to die. Going by that logic, I can say that the movie achieved its desired effect. Even after the events that just transpired the aftermath really gives the viewers no opportunity to breath and it should be like that as the people on the horizon didn’t get that chance as well.


The second half of the film is extremely tense

The second half of the film is extremely tense


  • The films authenticity is a bit of a double-edged sword. If you aren’t familiar with oil mining jargon facets of the dialogue will leave you slightly confused. This problem could have easily been avoided if the film found a way to explain it. The only sort of explanation the film gives you is the school kid discussion at the beginning, after that then you are on your own. It doesn’t damage the overall experience mind.
  • Even though the movie took its time to draw a lot of its characters, we really don’t feel like we’re getting to know the characters in any memorable way outside of what they do for a living and how they do it. The only exception in this case is Wahlberg’s character but like the previous point it doesn’t hurt the movie it just left me wanting a bit more.


Kate Hudson as Felicia Williams

Kate Hudson as Felicia Williams

Deepwater Horizon is a movie that could have simply been another action thriller based on a recent disaster but it delivers a gripping yet terrifying experience that has character and rounds itself off as a good tribute to everyone involved in these event.



Olisa Nwokedi
About The Author
- Olisa is an Aberystwyth University law graduate and Fordham University School of Law Masters graduate who was admitted into the Nigerian Bar in July 2016. He enjoys playing and watching rugby, writing, watching movies, playing video-games and Shark wrestling.......... that last part was fiction.