The new trailer for the Peter Berg-directed movie, which is based on a New York Times article about the oil rig’s final hours, makes it clear that this is a movie about one thing and one thing only: “real heroes.”
Who exactly are the “real heroes” in Berg’s film? It is true that 11 people died as the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank, and that the successful evacuation and rescue of the other crew members was daring. Plus, as the trailer shows, the visual of the broken rig spewing mud, smoke, and oil is prime fodder for an action film.
But the trailer’s tone is severely mismatched to the subject matter. The tragedy of Deepwater Horizon spans more than the two days of deadly crisis. There’s the fact that the rig’s owners had a history of safety issues, putting workers and the environment at risk. There’s the conflict of a community dependent on the oil industry for employment—not to mention a country dependent on that industry’s product—even as oil contributes to climate change. Years after the fact, there are health problems for cleanup workers, long-term impacts on wildlife, and a residual negative effect on Gulf Coast fishermen. This trailer implies that Deepwater Horizon has been given the 13 Hours treatment: one that trades nuance for explosions.