by Bonnie Anderson and Dan Webster
In April of 2010 an oil well drilling platform working on behalf of BP Oil Co. situated in The Gulf of Mexico, was responsible for the largest oil spill in history. Over 210 million gallons of spilled crude oil threatened eight national parks and 400 species that lived in the Gulf Islands and marshlands. The film, Deepwater Horizon, dramatically documents the situation on the oil rig at the time of the breach and explosion.
The dramatization of actual, emotional situations are often best absorbed by film audiences when the film producers and actors provide insights into the humanity of the persons who were directly involved in the situation. This film does an excellent job of portraying the roles of the staff on the drilling platform leading up to and including the initial stages of the disaster.
Directed by Peter Berg, the main characters provide background on the lives of the characters portrayed by Mark Wahlberg, Gina Rodriguez, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich. All give performances that well portray the surprise, anxiety and mounting terror of a crew and company managers faced with a disaster of this magnitude that they are ill-equipped to handle.
The film is wrought with the reality of fire, chaos and simple human kindnesses that are so often found when people are faced with unexpected life threatening
situations. There is prevailing grace among the people as they face into the danger of being consumed by the raging fire and the imminent explosion of the oil rig and their own possible demise in the ocean.
As the survivors give thanks together for relief and safety, saying together words of the Lord’s Prayer, we are reminded of the fragility of our own lives and for the lives of those in peril on the sea.
We remember the innocent wildlife lost as a result of this disaster and mourn their loss to us and mark their important place in this fragile earth our island home.
This is a film worth seeing and you will likely come away with a sense of the tragedy we find ourselves in as we continue to depend on non-renewable resources that endanger our planet and inhabitants.
Bonnie Anderson is a very active lay leader in her parish, diocese and in the wider Episcopal Church. She is an experienced community organizer and lives in suburban Detroit. Dan Webster is an Episcopal priest in Baltimore, Maryland and a former broadcast news executive. But don’t expect only east coast urban perspectives here. As it turns out, they both grew up in Southern California. They blog about films and faith at Faith Reels