Deepwater Horizon: the Film and its Environmental Legacy

Deepwater Horizon is a film based on the events of the devastating oil spill and explosion of an oil rig on April 20, 2010. Starring Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell, the film explores the lives of the workers on the rig on that fateful day, and raises key environmental concerns.

Deepwater Horizon focuses on the workers and their families, following them through the ordeal. Mike Williams (played by Wahlberg) and Caleb Holloway (played by Dylan O’Brien) are two of more than 120 crew members aboard the Horizon. As fires rage on the rig, they bravely attempt to save other crew members. While the men fight for their lives, their families witness the unfolding events in utter horror. Feelings of desperation and helplessness must have been unbearable to those watching from the mainland. Peter Burg, who worked with Wahlberg on the acclaimed Lone Survivor, returns to direct the disaster film.

The oil rig Deepwater Horizon was located in the Gulf of Mexico. After a mechanical failure, oil and pressured gases rapidly rose up to the rig and ignited. With emergency precautions rendered useless, the oil well on the sea floor was left uncapped. While the Coast Guard tried to contain the blaze, the flames were inextinguishable and growing in intensity. After several explosions the Horizon sank into the Gulf; according to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board the uncapped well churned out oil and gas “into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days.” This devastated coastal and marine habitats. The film strives to capture the bravery that-through fear and chaos-brought those workers together in a struggle for survival.

We learn about the significance of the environment in biology and environmental science. How it sustains organisms and how in turn the organisms maintain their habitat. Every once in awhile a powerful disaster occurs, causing massive ripples throughout the land. The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon led to the sinking of the rig and the release of “a reported 5 million barrels of oil” (USCSB) into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill was the largest spill in U.S. History. As a direct result of this tragedy beach cleanups intensified, as did interest of environmental preservation.

The rigs’ destruction and the subsequent oil spill brought environmental issues to the forefront of American society. The film Deepwater Horizon has been well received by critics and the audiences, holding a certified fresh 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Released in theaters on September 30, the film will hopefully spread awareness of the environment’s importance to audiences nationwide.