There’s something about a true story being played out on the big screen that makes a film heightened in some way, as if the audience is experiencing the drama through the real life characters and, if done properly, feel everything that they feel too.
To celebrate the release of Deepwater Horizon, based on the true story of the devastating 2010 incident and starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Dylan O’Brien, Gina Rodriguez, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to explore some of the greatest true stories ever told on film.
After his ship is targeted by Somali pirates, Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) must use his skills and cunning as he finds himself in an ensuing standoff with erratic leader Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who has his eyes set on taking the ship and crew for ransom in return for millions of dollars. Temporarily outwitting the pirates, the ship’s crew cut the power and capture Muse, but when the rest of the gang take Phillips hostage in return, the brave captain offers himself in order to keep his crew safe. The final scenes are a claustrophobic race against the clock, as Tom Hanks plays out the traumatic and incredibly brave actions of a real life hero.
When the Boxing Day Tsunami devastated south east Asia in 2004, one of the most unbelievable true stories emerged and was stunningly portrayed in The Impossible. Henry (Ewan McGregor), his wife Maria (Naomi Watts), and their three sons travel to a picturesque Thailand resort for an exotic Christmas break. After the tsunami strikes, the family finds themselves separated and suffering. Henry and Maria fight against the odds to protect their children and ultimately bring the family back together again, stumbling upon moments of heart-wrenching tragedy and experiencing acts of unbelievable compassion along the way.
Struggling to support his family, Mario (Antonio Banderas) along with other miners, take on extra shifts in the unstable San Jose Mine. When the decision is made to keep the mine open, regardless of the safety issues, the men know they have no choice but to carry on. A few hours into being in the mine, the ground begins to shake and boulders the size of the Empire State Building rain down upon them, collapsing the escape tunnels and leaving 33 men trapped 2,300ft below ground. Through the tireless campaigning of their families on the surface, 58 days later and countless efforts to find a way out, the rescue capsule finally reaches the men. One of the most unlikely stories ever brought to screen, The 33 is tense, uplifting and the will give you the biggest sigh of relief ever.
Not for those with vertigo. When mountaineer Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) gathers a team of eager adventurers to climb the mammoth that is Mount Everest – things quickly take a turn for the worst once the group reach the summit, with some faulty equipment and an incoming menacing storm heading their way. Some stylized scenes from the film were borrowed from the 1998 documentary of the same name, which really adds to the realism of the tragic story. Clarke is joined by an all-star cast, including Keira Knightley, Jake Gyllenhaal and Emily Watson.
127 Hours tells the horrifying true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) remarkable effort to save his own life after a boulder crashes down on his arm and traps him, leaving him isolated in the middle of Utah. The five days that follow sees Ralston realise that no one is going to find him, taking it upon himself to ensure his survival … regardless of the pain. As Aron pushes himself to his limits, surviving the elements and overcoming his fears enough to scale a 65 foot wall and hike eight miles, hallucinating and close to death, 127 Hours will leave you squirming in your seat.
After saying goodbye to his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter for 21 days, Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) makes his way to work on the Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Tension builds as tell-tale signs of the rig’s problems are felt by the experienced crew, but ignored by visiting supervisor Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich). Within minutes of Vitrine’s ill-advised order to begin pumping oil, the rig explodes bringing tonnes of oil down on the crew, eventually setting the rig on fire. As real-life hero Mike attempts to get his team to safety, you can feel your pulse pounding.
DEEPWATER HORIZON COMES TO CINEMAS THIS SEPTEMBER 29