Deepwater Horizon (2016)

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Genre: Action/Drama

Rating: PG

Director: Peter Berg

Running Time: 99 minutes

Main Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, Kate Hudson

It was the story of the “well from hell”, the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico Deepwater horizon explosion, and the film well and truly explodes.

Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) is an electrician on Deepwater Horizon, which became one of the biggest oil disasters in US Oil history. The plot is structured on the day of the disaster as we wake up with Williams. We are hit with a simplified infodump of explanation on how the rig works, through Williams’s daughter’s presentation of “What Daddy does”, text and the use of secondary characters to explain how Deepwater Horizon works. We follow the lead up of the disaster getting all the warnings mentioned in the info dump. These clues all build up into one hell of an explosion, which throws us and I mean literally throws us, directly into the action as the well begins to fall apart.

Kurt Russell plays the stern rig boss, “Mr. Jimmy” Harrell, Kate Hudson as the cliché wife on the phone, John Malkovich is the BP executive Donald Vidrine and Gina Rodriguez as the Rigs Helmswomen Andrea Fleytas, join Wahlberg on the rig.

Peter Berg directs this thriller, where he took over the film partway through the production. He again brings Wahlberg as his main man (Lone Survivor), who’s mastered the everyday hero role. Berg portrays the actions of the people on board seem ordinary and not over the top, which can often bring down a movie such as this, as characters do the seemingly impossible over and over again, which takes away from the film. Berg had the Deepwater Horizon rig reconstructed as a prop for the film and then blown up to add authenticity, which adds to the awesomeness and epicness of this movie.

Wahlberg just seems to do ordinary things well; he is the hero of the rig and the calming man in a world of utter chaos aboard Deepwater Horizon. His actions are an example of someone not going overboard. He portrays a man that is simply doing human like reactions, like saving his boss and another crewmember. He still portrays the one extreme moment towards the end of the film with a sense of normality. He is solid throughout the film and just a little shaky in the final scenes of the film.

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Mark Wahlberg being a genuine hero – source Lionsgate

Berg has shaped the film well, with a well-paced film, which can take you from a slowish information dump pace to an extremely fast paced action sequence with ease. He does this through the use of careful editing, exquisite sound and well-planned cinematography. These factors come to the forefront when the rig starts to explode and we are thrown around with the characters in the film, as berg creates confusion and chaos on the rig as it explodes. These sequences are shot and edited in a way that perfectly places us in the action and is thrilling to sit in the theatre and experience. As the cinematography paints a breath taking picture of the horrors that happened on Deepwater Horizon. We are faced with walls of fire, tight corridors and wide shots of the rig falling apart, and although BP have said that the movie is inaccurate you put it at the back of your mind and sit down and enjoy the thrilling action that Berg has constructed.

Its one down point is its whole disregard for the environmental impact of the spill on the Gulf of Mexico. I understand the film is about the human aspect of the disaster but some point in the film, maybe towards the end, frankly maybe at any point it could have addressed this issue, which was a pretty big issue. The one and only instance where the environment was mentioned was when the seabird (it was so covered in mud it was hard to distinguish what bird it was) flew through a window of the ship that was anchored near the Deepwater Horizon and eventually died on screen because of its injuries sustained from entering and trying to exit the ship. Berg could have produced something more symbolic then having us watch a bird die on the screen in front of us, maybe a little mention of the disaster environmentally at the end of the film.

The “well from hell” truly became the “well from hell” in this retelling of the tale by Berg. The film features a wonderful ordinary performance by Wahlberg and a well-constructed film that has the ability to throw the viewer directly onto the rig and into the disaster. Deepwater Horizon is a great movie and is a thrilling watch that will have you sucked in the whole time.

The Front Row Opinion

★★★★

 

Here is the Trailer for Deepwater Horizon and don’t forget to like The Front Row Reviewer on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @thefrontrowreviewer

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