“Deepwater Horizon” is directed by Peter Berg and stars Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich. The film is based on the true story of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig that, in 2010, led to the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
This is the second Berg-Wahlberg flick, with the other one being 2014’s “Lone Survivor”, a film that I quite enjoyed. So that, along with the intriguing trailers and a solid premise, made me come into the film with some excitement.
The performances from the majority of the cast are solid, especially the duo of Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell. Both Wahlberg and Russell alike are excellent in nearly every scene they are in. With Wahlberg as the lead, he shows some surprising acting range in this film, bringing both great action work, as well as some truly compelling dramatic heft later on in the movie. For Russell, he may be more one note, but when that one note is being a kickass leader that steals almost every scene he’s in, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Kate Hudson is also solid in her smaller role here as Wahlberg’s wife, as are nearly all of the members on the Deepwater Horizon. From Dylan O’Brien to Ethan Suplee to Gina Rodriguez, each member of the crew shows a sense of fear and a sense of realism when the terror strikes, and it made the disaster feel much more legitimate.
Speaking of the disaster, when the explosion starts, it starts hitting, and it starts hitting hard, and the results are breathtaking. The camerawork mixed in with stunning visual effects makes this oil spill look real and look brutal, and the way that Peter Berg depicts this disaster is done with such a realistic, brutal view that I found myself in awe when the destruction was going down.
This is a bit of a positive and a negative, but there is quite a large amount of buildup until the action comes to play, but why I put this in the good is because Berg makes sure that this opening is enough to keep the audience on board, but while also allowing the suspense to build and build. Because of this, when it is finally time for the action set pieces, we couldn’t be more ready for them, and I think that this extra development paid off in the long run.
That being said, there are moments during this long set up where I found the dialogue to be a bit stiff, and the development to be a little tedious. It may pay off to some spectacular action moments, but while sitting through it, I didn’t care for a lot of the conversations between the characters, and I certainly felt the time move slowly.
I enjoyed the performances of nearly everyone, but I did not like John Malkovich’s role as the slimy BP man in this film. Malkovich is a terrific actor, but I did not care for him in this film, as I found his character to be more annoying than anything else.
Berg decides to avoid the controversy of this oil spill almost entirely, for better or worse. While it is talked about right before the end credits via text blocks, I think that Berg could have pushed the envelope and went into the proceedings of the case afterward. Instead, Berg plays the event somewhat safe in order to pay respect for those who were simply on the Deepwater Horizon and, while I certainly understand the call, I think some more could have been done with such a catastrophic event.
“Deepwater Horizon” is a well-done action film with some terrific visuals, solid performances, and some surprisingly emotional moments later on. This film certainly doesn’t try to push any boundaries, but for what it is, “Deepwater Horizon” is a solid adaptation of the real-life 2010 crisis.
What did you think of “Deepwater Horizon”? Comment below with what you thought.