Deepwater Horizon – More Action Than Feelings – Review

Courtesy Summit

Based on the true story, Mark Wahlberg stars as Mike Williams – a lead tech on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig about 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana.  The rig’s captain, Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), has been butting heads with the project’s managers from British Petroleum over whether or not the proper safety measures and maintenance have taken place, and Mike is in agreement.

However, the project is 43 days behind schedule, and the order is given to start pumping oil.  That’s when disaster strikes and the entire crew is put in danger.

Director Peter Berg has delivered a movie full of shocking action and naturally organic emotions (for the most part).  Berg and the screenwriting team aren’t as interested in the manipulative stories of the families or the history of each man and woman on the rig.  They are focused on the raw emotion of watching these people in a horrific situation carrying out acts of bravery beyond most of our comprehensions.

Deepwater Horizon is about seeing this massive explosion, watching the rig become consumed with fire and hoping each of the people we have briefly met can somehow find a way to safety.  In this sense, it becomes a disaster film much like any of the classics from the 1970’s with a lightning quick pace and special effects that will leave you in awe.

Sure, the British Petroleum guys become obvious villains in this tale as writers Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand portray them as obsessed with getting started, making money and pushing the boundaries of safety.  However, this story focuses more on the crew as they attempt to save themselves and each other, with some facts added to the end of the movie to bring you up to date on the legal and legislative fallout.

The action is where Wahlberg shines.  In a story of heroes, we see Williams as honest, brave of heart and full of morality going the extra step to do more for a fellow crewmember than many would be willing to do for themselves.

Carnahan and Sand attempt to humanize him by showing us his relationship with his daughter and the scenes of his wife, Felicia (Kate Hudson), agonizing away as his fate is unknown, but those scenes are not all that important to the overall impact of Deepwater Horizon.  They don’t add enough depth to be vital.

Deepwater Horizon is a straightforward movie focused more on action than history or commentary.

3waffles_sml3 Waffles (Out of 4)

Deepwater Horizon is rated PG-13 for prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images, and brief strong language.