In the highly stylised world of Hollywood it is very rare that we see a disaster movie that focuses on a more grounded human element, rather than offering audiences stunning visuals and special effects. However, Deepwater Horizon seems to be one of them.
Directed by Peter Berg, starring the likes of Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich and Kurt Russell, Deepwater Horizon tells the true story of the events aboard the BP Oil Rig that exploded in 2010 which resulted in the biggest oil disaster of all time. Now whilst the film does show us the explosion of the oil rig using stunning visuals, this is only about a 5-minute sequence of the film. The primary focus on the rig workers provides a more grounded and emotional story – yet at the same time through those such as Malkovich’s character (BP Exec Vidrine), the film still is able to represent the scandal.
However, from the start, the audience can tell Berg’s attitude towards BP and the role they played in this disaster. The characters, from Mr Jimmy (Kurt Russell) to Williams (Mark Wahlberg), present an anti-authoritarian attitude towards the BP officials on the rig, portrayed as the hard working individuals in comparison to BP who simply want to cut corners to save money. This is no more evident in a scene just before the explosion. The workers are performing a series of tests on the primary and secondary drills pressure, the main drill is functioning fine whereas the secondary drill’s pressure is a lot higher than it should be. Yet despite the protests of the engineers the BP chiefs gave the go ahead so their company would not lose any money. This film reflects the money driven goals of today’s corporate society and shows that even though the corporations do suffer in events like these it is the lives of hard-working honest men that end up being affected most.