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Deepwater Horizon

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In April 2010, there is no oil exploration operation in the Gulf of Mexico to compare with the Deepwater Horizon oil rig with its size or sheer depth of its drilling.

However, the project for the BP oil company is beset with technical difficulties to the point where the general operational supervisor, Jimmy Harrell, and his Chief Electrical Engineer, Mike Williams, are concerned potentially dangerous trouble is brewing. Unfortunately, visiting BP executives, frustrated by the project's long delays, order curtailed site inspections and slanted system tests to make up for lost time even as Harrell, Williams and his team helplessly protest for the sake of proper safety. On April 20, the workers' fears are realized in the worst possible way when the rig's various structural and system flaws spark a catastrophic cascade of failures that would create a massive blowout and explosion that threatens them all, even as it also begins the worst environmental disaster in US history.

 

Deepwater Horizon is a movie that succeeds on two levels: as an action-packed blockbuster and as an honest depiction of a tragic disaster. It's the story of the BP oil rig that exploded and contaminated the Gulf of Mexico. The way Berg directs the sequence of events is well paced and purposefully developmental for a good chunk of the movie. It takes about 45 minutes before the crap hits the fan, during which we're allowed time to get to know the characters - their quirks, their personalities - so we can empathize with their situation. The stakes feel real, as they should (and were), which is a testament to the directing and the acting. Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell dominate in their roles, Russell given the opportunity to remind us why he's one of the biggest stars ever. The supporting cast is excellent, including John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, and Dylan O'Brien, who have chemistry and rapport between other characters (Malkovich and Russell sharing a couple intense moments where not a word is said).

The disaster itself is portrayed brilliantly. The tone remains frantic and the stunning special effects work puts it over the edge. Once things go south, it's a nonstop adrenaline rush till the end. This was a tragic event and the gritty realism shown here is as refreshing as it is intense. For those ABS-Members who weren’t there on Wednesday: If you're in the mood for a deeper-than-average thrill-ride, look no further than Deepwater Horizon.

 

Finally there was another star on this evening: our President Dr Kurt Tiroch, attired with a genuine BP shirt and company tie (after all he was an executive with BP for 27 years), took us prior to the movie on a tour de force with his introductory explanation, brimming with insider knowledge, relating to the catastrophic events around the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

 

The evening ended harmoniously as it should be with plenty of sparkling wine and canapés courtesy “Café Ministerium”. For those who missed last night: Pity, you couldn’t make it!

 

Wolfgang Geißler