DEEPWATER HORIZON — Review by Susan Granger

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When an explosion on April 10, 2010, ignited the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the blowout lasted 87 days, leaking 4.9 million gallons into the Gulf, resulting in the worst ecological disaster in American history. Told through the perspective of Chief Electronics Technician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), it begins normally, as he bids goodbye to his wife (Kate Hudson) and young daughter, hoping to snag a ‘dinosaur bone’ for her to show to her class in school. Read on…

Preparing to be transported to the enormous rig, just off the Louisiana coast, he greets co-worker Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez) and reports for duty to Captain “Mr. Jimmy” Harrell (Kurt Russell), who, ironically, is presented with a workplace Safety Award, just before the “well from hell” bursts.

Conversing in terse, completely indecipherable, technical jargon, it becomes obvious that certain “negative pressure tests,” along with other complicated maintenance procedures, were not properly performed because of monetary pressure.

According to the crew, the rig is held together “with Band-Aids and bubble gum.”

Since the drilling rig is owned by Transocean and leased to British Petroleum (BP), company exec Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) is concerned that the project is already behind schedule to start pumping oil.

“We’re confident about the integrity of the cement,” Vidrine says, but it’s obvious that pressure is building deep below and a monumental catastrophe is lurking.

Taking cues from Irwin Allen disaster movies like “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) and “The Towering Inferno” (1974), screenwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand, along with director Peter Berg, take time to introduce the motivations of their primary characters.

After the accident occurs, chaos ensues. Enrique Chediak’s handheld cinematography blends convincingly with Craig Hammack’s visual effects, while Wylie Statemen’s deafening noise obliterates everything. There are numerous explosions, fireballs, gushing oil, oozing mud and collapsing metal towers.

Eventually, it becomes obvious that Williams’ rugged heroics saves several lives, yet 11 men died and what happened to the rest is anyone’s guess.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Deepwater Horizon” is a suspenseful 7 with edge-of-your-seat tension.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.