Free Press Journal

Deepwater Horizon: Ocean disaster drama


Film: Deepwater Horizon

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’brien

Director: Peter Berg

Pardon me, at the outset, gentle reader, if I toot my own trumpet about having met the great fire fighter Paul “Red” Adair in Mumbai, then Bombay.

The American was in town with his staff to advise the authorities on battling an ONGC blow-out in the high seas and I was lucky the Chief Reporter of Russi Karanjia’s The Daily assigned me the (happy) task of interviewing the man. Make that hero. (Hollywood immortalised Red Adair).

Chronicling heroism and bravery, Peter Berg’s “Deepwater Horizon” is based on a New York Times story about the 2010 explosion of an oil rig that consumed 11 lives (apart from inflicting considerable damage on the environment and animals) and is, arguably, the greatest man-made
oil spill in history.

Berg reteams with Mark “Lone Survivor” Wahlberg to cast him a pivotal role as the titular offshore structure’s chief technician, Mike Williams in Berg’s salaam to ordinary people in extraordinary situations. The early part of the narrative will be technical gobbledygook to the layperson; but picks up subsequently.

All in all, the screenwriters Matthew Carnahan and Matthew Sand seem to have done justice to the NYT’s Christmas Day article written by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul. Berg assembled a great star cast. Kurt Russell and step-daughter Kate Hudson play Jimmy Harrell, the crew commander and Felicia, Mike’s anxious wife.

As in “The 33”, the film based on the 2010 mining disaster in Chile, this film too exposes the criminal greed/indifference of corporate honchos like Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) who override safety concerns. Again as in “The 33”, the Deepwater survivors are men of faith. And as for the special effects, they’re, in a word, splendid.