The true story of one of America’s biggest oil disasters comes to the screen with Mark Wahlberg heading an amazing cast, including Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, and Ethan Suplee. What we’re given is the best disaster movie in years and this generations Towering Inferno.
The 2010 spill that was caused by BP’s neglect and penny-pinching is something that we’ve all heard about. The spill of 210 million gallons of oil into the water caused major political, financial, and ecological damage. The disaster movie is something that in the 1970’s was practically every second movie that came out and the studios rushed to have different types. With that many movies of one type coming out in such a short period of time the quality started to fall down and the genre went into a form of recession. Since then natural or man-made disaster movies have come along every few years, with San Andreas last year being the more recent that I’ve seen anyway. San Andreas was fine, entertaining, but you didn’t care too much about the characters.
Director Peter Berg, who Directed Lone Survivor, re-teams with Wahlberg to bring us another true story. Berg’s vision mixed with a script which understands the lives of the Roughnecks and their families provides with one of the best disaster movies that has come along in a long time. The reason for this is the development of the characters, I keep going on about that in reviews, as it’s the important thing about a film. You can have the best special effects, most amazing cast, but if we don’t care about the characters then you might as well throw the film in the one euro bin at the supermarket straight away. When it comes to disaster movies this is more important as you are building up to massive destruction and you want to make sure the audience care about the characters so that we have what I call The Feels. If I didn’t care about Mark Wahlberg’s character or Kurt Russell then I’m not going to care about Kate Hudson sitting at home on the phone trying to call her hubby. Kate Hudson, by the way, is hugely under used through the film, but it’s nice to see her do something other than a romantic comedy. The reason that the danger is so exciting is that you care.
The film rests heavily on showing us that the BP corporate people are unfeeling scumbag’s who only care about their profit margin. They are painted as men who would burn every member of the rig crew in order to make an extra dollar. It’s shown that they are responsible for the lack of safety checks and providing the recipe for this disaster. If you want to know the basic idea of how BP managed to nearly kill the planet here is the bare bones of it. They hire the best technical people, and don’t listen to them, then give them substandard equipment to do one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.
The film moves quickly along and although you know what is going to happen when it kicks off you are biting your nails down to the ends watching. The explosions and force of nature and neglect are tremendous and you see why humans aren’t really prepared to deal with Mother Nature. This is truly excellent film making that understands the genre and understands how to build tension. The final scenes with the real life people involved are worth sticking around for too. You’ll get angry at the corporate goons who pushed the activation of the rig before it was ready, you’ll squirm in your chair while watching some of the injuries, and you’ll hold on tight to see who lives and who dies. It’s a thrill ride that you should watch on the biggest screen you can manage. Well worth a trip to the cinema!
Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand, David Rohde, Stephanie Saul
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin