Deepwater Horizon

Film, Action and adventure
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Deepwater Horizon

This meat-and-potatoes real-life disaster movie remembers the 2010 oil rig explosion that killed 11 men and spawned a devastating oil spill

While the coastal population of Louisiana is still recovering from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in 2010, Hollywood has clearly decided that the mourning period is over. To be fair, Deepwater Horizon does come with a veneer of seriousness, ending with a sober tribute to the 11 crewmen killed in the blast. But it also works a treat for anyone in the audience who just wants to see a bunch of stuff blown up.

Mark Wahlberg stars as Mike Williams, a square-jawed hero straight out of the Bruce Springsteen playbook: the blue-collar family man who stands up to the big boys, speaks his piece and is shouted down. Doing the shouting is John Malkovich, on outrageous scenery-chewing form as the villainous oil executive who ignores the warning signs and allows things to go too far. It’s not a question of if everything will all go bang, but when – and how loudly.

Very, very loudly, as it turns out, and when the oil catches fire, so does Deepwater Horizon. Directed by Peter Berg, the action is ferocious, fast and bloody – one memorable scene with Kurt Russell’s plant foreman and a plate-glass shower door will have you squirming with horror. But it’s quite a long way from believable, especially when Wahlberg starts leaping from high platforms like a grimy, Lycra-less Batman. Accusations of tastelessness are bound to come, with some justification – if your priority is to respect the dead, why hire the director of Battleship?

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday September 30 2016
Duration: 108 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Berg
Screenwriter: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand
Cast: Mark Wahlberg
Dylan O'Brien
Kate Hudson
Kurt Russell
John Malkovich

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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I was kind of expecting this to be a 'Towering Inferno' style take on the real life events of the Deepwater Horizon incident. I guess in many ways it is but it is also very well put together and also quite tastefully done in light of the loss of life and devastating consequences to the environment caused by the disaster. Taking a step back and imagining that this was all just a fictional Hollywood disaster movie, there is nothing missing in terms of action, and the factual basis therefore only adds to making the whole thing feeling more real, which is no bad thing.

Likeable recreation of the real-life disaster and the characters caught up in it, that takes a documentary style approach complete with explanatory captions to explain how a rig works - it's entertaining, in a science channel sort of way - and then comes mud and explosions - and more mud and explosions. The movie no doubt stands as a moving tribute to the 11 who died, Hollywood -style, and the performances are fine throughout, but as a piece of drama it burns out with all that oil and gas...


Having had fairly low expectations for this film, I was actually pleasantly surprised. This is an action packed movie, which also deals sensitively with the tragic loss of 11 lives. Although it is a based on a very famous true story, some of the action scenes are pretty unbelievable. However, it doesn't really matter.

There are some solid performances from Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell and the plot is both exciting and shocking in equal measures.  

A good disaster movie and a fitting tribute to the poor souls affected by this horrific event.


Like most disaster films, Deepwater Horizon spends its first half building up boring bits with talks about oil and money and a cast of mostly forgettable characters, alongside menacing shots of the oil rig threatening to blow from below. Once the moneyshot comes around though, the film quickly spirals into a cataclysm, with a flaming rig and people getting injured left right and centre, with plenty of blood to go around. That's basically when all hell breaks loose and the film really finds its place, almost akin to a theme park ride, with Marky Mark rising to the occasion and playing hero, saving just about everyone on the rig. The use of shots of flashing lights and engulfing flames are terrifying and truly bring out the horror of the disaster, and there's a fear that I felt for everyone on the rig as it became clear that it was getting more and more dangerous. The film was also realistic enough that it didn't provide a straight up happy ending for the survivors, rather, showed them in a state of post traumatic stress disorder, and living with survivor's guilt when affronted by the deceaseds' family members. All in all, a great tribute film that could have taken a shorter time to get to the main event, but really showcases the horror of the incident with an appropriately sombre ending. 


A high octane, edge-of-your seat disaster movie - made all the more shocking by the fact that it happened for real and so recently too.

A really good cast with stand-out performances from Kurt Russell and John Malkovich.

A good blend of practical and CGI effects move the action along at an increasing pace.

See it on the biggest screen possible.

No fish were killed in the making of this movie. I did not see any ! 

Hollywood puts its gloss on a true Corporate and Natural disaster , by concentrating on the action and part condemning the greed and inefficiency that caused the catastrophe. Its American all the way, but wow did I feel ashamed to be British. It was BP - with head offices in London that blew the well , killed its staff and damaged marine life in the area forever. Getting beyond the shame, I rather enjoyed the film itself. Its action packed , and a bit fanciful but kept me gripped throughout.