Sometimes when watching a “based on true events” film you forget that that’s exactly what it is……true.
I apologise in advance, this is a bit of a long one. I’m really surprised that this movie didn’t get more exposure before its release. Being based on an event that had such a major environmental impact and involving a huge commercial company I would have thought it would get a lot of publicity. I only saw a couple of posters on the Underground and one trailer for it with a friend who also wanted to see it. Many people I suggested it too hadn’t heard of it at all!
The casting of Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg for a role as serious as this was an interesting choice, I normally enjoy him in more comedic roles. However, I think his performance in this picture was fantastic; he gave us that slightly comedic opening to the film which made the end that much more heartbreaking. He’s also smart (except for annoyingly not grabbing a hard hat at any point during the platform explosion) and is desperate to save as many people as he can.
John Malkovich plays a BP “company man” and you HATE him! Again, Malkovich has been slightly clownish in many recent roles, but he also gave a great performance as the greedy business man driven by money, meeting deadlines and of course that black gold. After the explosion, Malkovich’s character changes and we see an internal struggle between human emotion and company loyalty. He must save face and not admit fault, even after watching several men die.
Malkovich and Wahlberg gave stand out performances; however, they were also joined by Kurt Russel, who played the rig supervisor “Mr Jimmy”. A very strong individual who was caught in between maintaining the safety on board the drilling platform, and the demands of the BP representatives. Russel and Wahlberg showed great chemistry together and both had to go head-to-head with Malkovich but in different ways; Russel’s approach was straight to the point and aggressive, whereas Wahlberg was reserved and intelligent.
The supporting roles were played by Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner) and Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin, TV). O’Brien’s character seemed a little redundant at first, being a “grunt” type working the drill; but later he reveals secret skills that conveniently come in handy. Rodriguez was the only female on the rig that I noticed and remained on the bridge maintaining the position of the floating platform. Her most interesting scene was not her escape from the burning platform, but the face-off between her and the captain. Another display of company demand versus human instinct.
As I said, the lighthearted opening combined with the banter and rapport of the crew makes the end just horrific to watch. The action is very well shot putting you right in the smoke, oil and flames. And the inclusion of an oil drenched sea-bird unable to fly was just another example of the impact of the event. Then came that dreaded text at the end of the film………
These are the 11 men that actually lost their lives that night and the battle to stop the seemingly infinite fire. Videos of the men with their families were shown, as well as the legal aftermath. US Government figures estimated 4.2m barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf over 87 days in 2010. We are informed that BP was cleared of manslaughter, although the script of the film convinces you otherwise.
My friend and I are found ourselves poking a bit of fun at certain points of the film, the hard hat negligence to name just one, all that was stripped away by the end message and I was most definitely tearing up.
This is one of those films where you know you will leave having lost faith humanity, but you will watch it again because at least someone is speaking up.