"Valor in the Midst of Disaster"


What You Need To Know:

DEEPWATER HORIZON is a powerful, emotional disaster movie about the oil exploration platform that exploded several miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Mark Wahlberg plays electronic technician Mike Williams. The crew captain, Mr. Jimmy, is about to receive a safety award from two British Petroleum executives, but Mike and Mr. Jimmy complain about the company’s cost-cutting measures. Mr. Jimmy decides to run some tests. For a brief period of time, the tests seem to be okay, but then all Hell breaks loose.

DEEPWATER HORIZON is powerful and emotionally stirring, with great examples of self-sacrifice, heroism and prayer. It presents the science of deepwater drilling so it becomes totally comprehensible and very entertaining way. There are some great character sketches. Mark Wahlberg as well as Kurt Russell and John Malkovich are convincing and excellent. One survivor discusses the power of prayer in the real person’s voice. Sadly, though, there’s a bedroom scene between Mike and his wife that almost goes on too long. DEEPWATER HORIZON also has plenty of foul language. So, extreme caution is advised.


(CC, BB, ACap, Cap, LLL, VV, S, N, A, M) Strong Christian worldview about human courage and self-sacrifice in the midst of one of the world’s biggest disasters with all the survivors saying the Lord’s Prayer together and an ending statement by the real life protagonist about the power of prayer and God’s Grace in the midst of adversity, some examples of moral rectitude in spite of company cronies trying to save money at any cost, some anti-capitalist comments, although one of the heroes is the contractor representing the rig itself who does care, some evolutionary comments about dinosaurs, oil and 300 million years; 53 obscenities and eight profanities; very scary disaster violence with gruesome pictures of glass and metal embedding itself in people’s bodies, people’s bodies peppered by shattering glass and metal, people stuck and crushed and trapped by objects, people diving into oil fire on the ocean, people on fire, birds going wild and destroying a cabin and helicopter; husband and wife foreplay, young daughter mentions she didn’t bother them because she wants a little brother; upper male nudity several times, female in halter top with skimpy bikini panties; very light alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, company lies and people refuse to do the right thing because they lack authority.

More Detail:

DEEPWATER HORIZON is a powerful, emotional disaster movie reflecting the true story of the oil exploration platform several miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. The movie does a great job of foreshadowing and executing suspense, with heroic self-sacrifice and prayer but, sadly, also with a lot of foul language.

The movie opens with the real testimony of Mike Williams during the investigation by the government into one of the largest disasters and oil spills in history. Next, Mike is asked why none of the alarms went off. This foreshadowing is carefully augmented by other fear-inducing foreshadowing. For instance, the diving bell that goes down 5,000 feet to look at the structure of the drill on the Gulf floor sees bubbles percolating up from the undulating floor.

Cut to Mike, played well by Mark Wahlberg, leaving home to return to the platform. His wife beckons him to bed, and they have a tryst, which cuts to a scene over a light breakfast before anything serious happens, except for some sexy banter. Their young daughter walks into the breakfast and says, “I know what you were doing, but I want a baby brother, so I didn’t stop you.”

She asks her dad Mike to help her with her report due for class. She’s going to talk about oil exploration. In the midst of talking about 300 million years for dinosaurs to turn into oil, Mike shows her what the drilling does by shaking up a Coca Cola can, jamming a metal straw into the can and filling the top of the straw with honey to keep the Coke from exploding. This is what’s supposed to happen with the drilling, but suddenly Coca Cola explodes out of the straw, because there wasn’t enough honey. This again foreshadows the coming disaster. Mike’s daughter tells him one of her classmate’s father is a zookeeper, so she brought in a penguin. He promises to bring her back a dinosaur tooth.

Mike travels to the heliport and meets up with Mr. Jimmy, who’s in charge of the oil exploration platform. Two British Petroleum (BP) executives are also at the heliport. Mr. Jimmy clearly doesn’t like BP and manipulates one of them into taking off his tie.

When they get to the platform, Mr. Jimmy asks whether BP cemented the drill hole and tested it. It’s clear to Mr. Jimmy they didn’t, because the company in charge of that job left too soon. Donald Vidrine, the BP point man played with sinister excellence by John Malkovich, who makes a great villain, says BP is a giant company and didn’t get that way by spending unnecessary money. Mr. Jimmy says there are all sorts of things failing on the platform and BP’s going to jeopardize lives for the small amount of money it would take to do the test. Vidrine asks what else is wrong, and Mr. Jimmy asks Mike to reply. Mike starts to rattle off every single defect, including the alarms. In fact, hundreds of items need repair and haven’t been maintained properly. Vidrine is taken aback and visits Mike privately to ask if he has anything else to say. Mike catalogues the things that need to be done, reminds him he’s just an underling and says it seems to him that BP’s strategy of maintaining the platform is a strategy of hope, and that’s no strategy at all.

Mr. Jimmy decides to run some tests. For a brief period of time, the tests seem to be okay, but then all Hell breaks loose. Oil starts to explode through the pipes, tearing apart the heaviest drill bits, steel doors, glass, and anything else that can be ripped to shreds. Metal is embedded in people’s chest, fire breaks out, glass shatters all over a person’s body, a door traps Mike in a stairwell, and Mr. Jimmy is seriously wounded and blinded.

Each person, however, tries to do their best to stop the chain reaction to save the platform and especially to save lives. When the crane looks like it might destroy the lifeboats, the operator risks his life to climb the tower to secure the crane. Mike consistently puts himself in harm’s way to get people into the lifeboats, to help Mr. Jimmy shut down the reaction. Finally, just a handful of people are left on the platform because the lifeboats have left them behind. It appears as if Mike and the others won’t survive.

DEEPWATER HORIZON is a very powerful, emotional disaster movie, with great examples of self-sacrifice and heroism. In a very entertaining way, it presents the science of deepwater drilling so it becomes totally comprehensible. It has a long sequence at the end where the survivors say the Lord’s Prayer, and one of the survivors talking about the power of prayer in the real person’s voice.

Regrettably, at the beginning of the movie, there’s a bedroom scene between the husband and wife that almost goes too far and might turn off many viewers who would love the movie. DEEPWATER HORIZON also has too much foul language, including some clear profanities, which were totally unnecessary considering the movie’s overt Christian content.

That said, there are some great character sketches and acting in DEEPWATER HORIZON. Mark Wahlberg does a very good job, as does Kurt Russell…and John Malkovich is extraordinary. The disaster special effects and camerawork are also highly commendable. The audience feels the pain of the characters. However, BP is portrayed as the villain, and so there’s an anti-capitalist spin to the movie, although Mr. Jimmy, whose rig was commissioned by BP is a capitalist too. So, some of this negative content is balanced by his character.

DEEPWATER HORIZON is based on a New York Times article, but one of the sons of the MOVIEGUIDE® staff actually wrote much of the U.S. Attorney’s Office case and BP was not as much of a villain as the movie makes out, although two BP employees were accused of manslaughter. By the way, when Mike Williams gets to the rig, one of the team hands him the dinosaur tooth to give to his daughter.