“Deepwater Horizon” – the historical fiction thriller based on the true story of the worst oil spill in U.S. history – gives the viewer a detailed understanding of the events that resulted in millions of gallons of unrefined oil being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, while simultaneously providing all the entertainment of a classic thriller/horror film.
The movie stars Mark Wahlberg as Mike Williams, who is getting ready to leave for duty on the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Though it is hard leaving his wife, Felicia Williams (Kate Hudson), Mike heads out like any other trip to the rig. Everything seems normal, until they arrive.
Wahlberg may be known for his comedic roles in the “Ted” movie series, but when he needs to be serious, he definitely can be. Viewers will connect with Mike’s emotions and sympathize with him, which helps to immerse them in the plot.
Instead of presenting us with an informational documentary, director Peter Berg uses his skills to dig into the story of the oil spill and turn it into a thrilling film with plenty of suspense and just the right amount of jump scares to keep the viewer on edge.
The visual style of the film can make you feel the same way the characters did. The dark, depressing visuals of the vast ocean, combined with shots of the underwater landscape, give the viewer a feeling of loneliness and isolation. The special effects crew did an outstanding job emulating the setting of an oil rig, showing how far modern film editing technology can go. Viewers will be surprised to learn that scenes set in the Gulf of Mexico on the deck of an oil rig were actually shot in the parking lot of an abandoned Six Flags theme park.
The music fits the movie exceptionally well, amplifying the suspense that this gripping film provides. Compositions by Steve Jablonsky paint calm, melancholy landscapes that mix well with the bleak visuals.
Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with “Deepwater Horizon.” Some who experienced the disaster first-hand have criticized the film’s accuracy.
As a whole, “Deepwater Horizon” does a great job taking a crucial event in U.S. history and turning it into an intense film. It presents the events in a way that captivates viewers, no matter how little knowledge they have about the disaster.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.