Here's a true, somewhat glorified story about the biggest oil disaster in US history, back in April 2010, and along with it a big bash at the BP people - something I'm surprised to see considering this is a blockbuster, and Hollywood's no saint either.
That said, they don't delve much into it becoming the biggest oil spill, so much as the personal tragedy that precedes it, and the chaos that ensues within the building is the big action.
Focus lies on the people on the rig, and on a set of main characters that do their best to save each other, though the eleven lives lost in the initial explosion are the real post-movie tragedy... not the billions of people ultimately impacted by the carelessness of those BP bosses, by the disastrous effects that spill will have on the Earth and life upon it.
Mark Wahlberg plays Mike Williams, a chief engineer working an the ultra-deepwater offshore drilling rig with the movie name, at the time situated in the Gulf of Mexico. Kurt Russell's the big boss Jimmy Harrell, and if there is a single villain it's BP representative Vidrine, played by John Malkovich, whose thirst for profit paves way for the disaster. Gina Rodriguez has a notable part too, and at times looks remarkably much like (her not sister - I checked) Michelle Rodriguez.
The characters all play their role convincingly, and there's a glimpse of family on the side for added survival importance. Mike is the main character, but Jimmy's the real tough guy. They work well together, and that guy who maneuvers the crane - saving the lives of everyone about to board the lifeboat at the cost of his own, he had a short but important fifteen seconds of fame too.
While the others escape, Mike and Co stay behind and do all they can to contain the situation, but in the end there's nothing they can do. They climb the stairs with the flames licking their feet, and make an impressive dive through the inferno; into the oily waters of the bay.
It's a fascinating, and dramatic chain of events, that really focuses on the detail of each operation. The machinery. The pipes. The pressure. The I-don't-remember-their-names-but-all-those-important-parts-that-were-mentioned: the inner workings of this giant metal and concrete contraption meant to suck out oil from below the seabed.
I understand they don't focus so much on the Earth itself as there's little of interest there. It's a slow death. Spill with no want for watching. Exploding rigs is what the audience really wants to see (I did too). The fire is fierce, as is every other aspect of the constructive carnage, and though a message about what it all meant for the world might overshadow personal grief, it feels like it's intentional. Like they still don't admit their guilt. As the credits roll we see pictures of the 'original' characters, and their families - from I assume both before and after the event. It's a nice personal touch, but it gives the impression that although it was a tragedy, and a great personal loss, they survived and life moves on. But it doesn't. The survivors may have healed their wounds, but the world has not, and BP keeps pumping their billions.
It's like BP is sending out a message: we are not at fault. If you want a villain, then focus on Vidrine, and not the profit-hungry machine that drives everyone like him. The crew did as much as they possibly could to lessen the damage, so hear their story, and hail their glory, and forget about the oil. I guess it's Hollywood after all.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle