Thursday, October 20, 2016
Deepwater Horizon Review
In case you were living under a rock in 2010, the Deepwater Horizon explosion and ensuing oil spill was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. If I have my facts right, it is officially the second largest oil spill in history and the largest accidental one as the only oil spill that was bigger was done on purpose in 1991. That according to this article I found about the 13 largest oil spills in history that I have linked right there. If you want to fact check me on that, that's up to you. Point is that this was a major disaster that was all over the news in 2010. Even if you're not an expert on the oil industry (I certainly am not), I would be shocked to learn if anyone didn't at least hear something about a giant oil spill back in 2010. This movie Deepwater Horizon is specifically centered around the events that transpired on April 20, 2010 when the explosion happened that ended up killing 11 people out of the 100+ people that were there that day. The movie is officially based on the New York Times article that was written about the event later that year. It's an absolutely fascinating read. If you haven't read it, I'd encourage you to take a break from this review to read it, then return.
As we are sitting there watching, we are just waiting to get punched in the gut. Peter Berg successfully takes the audience on a meticulously planned journey through the day that plays with their emotions. You know this thing is going to blow up. You know people are going to get hurt. You know people are probably going to die. But the characters in the movie have no idea and you just want to scream at them to get out and get to safety. But you are absolutely helpless and you just have to sit there and watch them walk to their doom. This is an emotionally taxing, depressing film. And that's before the explosion happens. After successfully building tension through the first part of the movie, keeping the audience at the edge of their seat the entire time, it finally happens at the absolute perfect moment in the film's arc. KABOOM!!! And dang does this movie successfully knock you over the head emotionally like a ton of bricks. And here I give my warning. This movie is insane. It's graphic. It's violent. It's intense. Peter Berg's goal in this movie is to take you into the heart of this accident and make you as an audience understand what these people went through as many of them honestly had the fear that they were never going to get to see their family and friends ever again. And some of them didn't. Thus this movie is definitely not for the faint of heart.
In fact, here's a little discussion on this thing called the MPAA. Walking out of this movie I was absolutely shocked that this wasn't rated R. In fact, I had to go double check online to verify the rating. I don't know how this got away with a PG-13, but it probably should've been R with how graphic and intense it is. I of course don't mean that in a negative way. I'm just saying in an objective way that if you have a hard time watching movies that are super graphic and intense and you think the line of what you can and can't handle is drawn at the line between PG-13 and R, well then you might be unpleasantly surprised with your experience in this movie because it's a difficult watch at times. But in my opinion this gives the movie the exact emotional punch that it needed to give in order to make a serious impact. This is a movie that you're going to remember long after you watch much like Peter Berg's previous movie in this trilogy of sorts in Lone Survivor. Remember how it felt watching the Navy SEALs in that movie jump off their next cliff in order to get to safety? That's exactly what you get here. And you come away with the same level of reverence and respect for what these people went through as you do in Lone Survivor.
Overall, Deepwater Horizon is a really intense, emotional look into the disaster that we all heard about, but perhaps may not have realized how horrific it really was for the people that were caught in it. The setup for the movie is perfect. The movie carefully and meticulously builds tension up to the point where the explosion happens and you want to yell at people to get to safety, but you end up helplessly stranded in the theater watching them. Then when the explosion happens and the movie delivers a strong emotional punch. This is certainly not for everyone as it gets very graphic and violent at times, making it a more difficult watch, but if you enjoyed Lone Survivor, then this is a movie that you need to watch. With two home runs for director Peter Berg, I am now even more excited for Patriots Day, which will be released to the public in December. The Boston Marathon bombing is something that is very fresh on my mind. I remember sitting in front of the TV all day listening for updates on CNN, so I'm curious to see what they bring to the table with that movie. After a lot of disappointments this year, Deepwater Horizon is a breath of fresh air as it's one of the better movies to be released this year. I'm going to give it a 9/10.