Film Review – Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Horizon

Title – Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Director – Peter Berg (The Kingdom)

Cast – Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Dylan O’Brien, Kate Hudson, Ethan Suplee, Gina Rodriguez

Plot – A look at the events that lead to the explosion of off-shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, a disaster that led to huge environmental damage as well as the loss of lives of those that worked on the rig.

“We all work very hard to ensure those moving parts are functioning as a means to a very profitable win for all of us”

Review by Eddie on 17/10/2016

Ever since he delivered one of the great sports movies ever made in 2004 with Friday Night Lights, actor turned director Peter Berg has become a relatively consistent filmmaker, churning out movies that are entertaining without becoming much more, even though his somewhat misfiring Battleship and Hancock lean more towards the outright forgettable and continuing on the tradition of solid Berg films is true life disaster flick Deepwater Horizon.

Re-teaming with his Lone Survivor lead Mark Wahlberg, Berg and his new favourite leading man (soon to be seen together again in the Boston Bombing drama Patriots Day) have here constructed a familiar disaster/survival drama of one of the world’s biggest ever man-made environmental tragedies that occurred on the deep sea oil well Deepwater Horizon that was at the time owned and managed by BP.

Those seeking a film that is more survival tale over set-up and topical issues such as big money corporations forgoing little things like safety for bottom lines to make the biggest splash of cash available to them will be disappointed, as a large focus of Berg’s film is setting up the tragedy that took place on the rig as Wahlberg’s maintenance man Mike Williams gets caught in the thick of things along with Kurt Russell’s well liked Jimmy Harrell, Dylan O’Brien’s young oil well operator Caleb Holloway and John Malkovich’s (having a blast hamming it up as only an actor of his calibre could do) “bad suit wearing corporate puppet” Vidrine.

There’s not much in the way of character development or background bar Mike’s time at home with wife Felicia (played by Kate Hudson) but we get to know enough about all the main characters to care, summarized most by a rather emotionally poignant finale that will have many feeling the effects of what happened on the fateful day in 2010 Even if for a majority of the films main components technical terms and a rush of characters popping in and out of the story will likely confuse rather than illuminate at certain times.

When the emotional tics work and the CGI’d chaos takes centre stage, Deepwater Horizon is far better than an average genre film that offers up an intriguing look at a relatively recent event many will recall with great clarity.

On the Peter Berg movie scale this is a film that’ll be counted amongst his most proficient and memorable without ever truly achieving the greatness he achieved with his crowning achievement Friday Night Lights.

3 ½ dinosaur teeth out of 5

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12 responses to “Film Review – Deepwater Horizon (2016)

  1. Great review. The film’s cast was good and the disaster aspect of the feature was worked well. However, the characters themselves were shells and there was too much “oil rig” talk in the film’s beginning.

  2. I agree with you! Friday Night Lights was one of the best sports films ever made. I remember when Peter was starring on Chicago Hope. Who knew there was a talented director lurking inside of him? I do enjoy a well made disaster film. This one seems like a modern day China Syndrome. Thanks for your review Eddie. I will definitely check it out.

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