Saturday, October 29, 2016

Deepwater Horizon (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Deepwater Horizon

Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) directs the horrid events of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. His story has all the uncomfortable tension of a horror film. Crewmember Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) is a conscientious oil rig worker and family man. Though he works hard, Williams is light in spirit, easy with a joke and always does the right thing.

His daughter, Sydney (Stella Allen) pines for a fossil from the next drilling site and Williams resolves to get one for her. His character recalls Sheriff Brody from "Jaws" (1975) in his  care, compassion and modest joie de vivre.  He is about to spend 21 days at sea and he hates to leave his wife Felicia (Kate Hudson)

From the start, one has the feeling that engineer Williams is the backbone of the rig. He is called upon to back up the indignation of the supervisor, Mr. Jimmie (Kurt Russell) who is flabbergasted when he learns that the cement seals were not tested along with the drilling pressure. Continuing the "Jaws" comparison, Mr. Jimmie is akin to Quint, given his deapan saltiness.

We know immediately that BP supervisor Donald Vidrine (played by a scaly John Malkovich ) is not on the level. He is behind schedule and pressures crewmember Jason Anderson (Ethan Suplee) to approve a botched test run. Sinister rumbles are heard very much like the presence of a Great White.

Pressure and temperature readings go haywire. So begins the explosion of a hungry and rabid beast. The crew is thrown about like driftwood. This is a hurricane of blood, oil and fire. Shellacked pelicans fall from the sky, paralyzed by the gook of greed.

The film is first rate for operating two-fold, both as an action suspense film and a moral lesson. The pursuit of profit and cutting corners have rarely been portrayed so bluntly. Mercenary attacks on the earth combined with aloof arrogance lead to a slaughter rivaling The Book of Revelation, toned in red and black.

Mike Williams is a very real and almost superhuman person who would make us feel safe in face of any deadly peril. But despite this hero, one is left with a sense of helplessness and outrage while watching "Deepwater Horizon."  The shaming  apocalypse of this oil rig on fire could well have been avoided given the proper care and precaution.

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