Movie Review –
I’ve always been insidiously skeptical of any movie that claims to be based on a true story or real life events. Anytime I see those words I groan aloud because I KNOW that anything I see on the screen is exaggerated and “fluffed up” ala Hollywood style to sell the story on a more sensational level. However, Peter Berg may be the one director to change my views on these kinds of films, especially after he proved to be respectful AND successful to the real life story and individuals in “Lone Survivor.” Now he’s telling a different true story; with Mark Wahlberg once again leading the charge. This time, it’s about the offshore drilling rig
“Deepwater horizon” incident. Where in April 2010, the rig exploded and created the worst oil spill in US history.
Somehow Berg and Wahlberg seemed to have created a winning combination, creating powerful passion films dedicated respectfully and solely to people the stories are based on, and don’t try to sell them as a blockbusters with fluffed up Hollywood polish. Mike Williams (Wahlberg) and his boss Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) are being pressured from their rig supervisor Vidrine (John Malkovich) to keep drilling for oil, despite the multiple reports and warnings of instability in the machines. Inevitably, the rig explodes and creates a devastating chain reaction that forces everyone aboard the Deepwater Horizon to struggle against near impossible odds to survive long enough until rescue comes.
Like with “Lone Survivor”, what helped me truly invest in this film was knowing just how blunt and real this film was with its depicted events. Things are not painted in heroic caricatures and edge-of-your-seat action sequences: what you’re seeing is reality at its coldest and harshest and it truly makes you feel like you went back in time to April 2010 and climbed aboard that rig.
The film does an immaculate job capturing the frantic, chaotic nature of this disaster. Everything you see feels like it’s really happening, flames bursting out of every corridor, machines breaking down and escalating the destruction and the situation to dangerous new heights for the struggling survivors. You get a first-hand experience of what it was like to go through such extreme circumstances, watching as everything that can go wrong goes wrong and just makes the situation look all the more bleak. I can see why Wahlberg keeps going back to Berg because Peter Berg pulls the greatest performances out of him with his films. Every cast member gets their talents utilized to their fullest; this is some of the best performances I’ve seen from these actors in a long time.
In some ways, I sensed some echoes from “Titanic”; having the film talk and build up on what possible threats or dangers could have been assessed and treated properly had someone investigated them. I think would be the only mild issue I would say this movie barely suffers from. We all know it’s coming so it just feels at times like it takes a bit of time to get to the actual disaster part. But once it does get there, you are hooked and horrified until the credits roll and you see the photos and names of all the real life people who lost their lives on Deepwater Horizon. This is not a disaster movie like “2012” or “The Day After Tomorrow”, this is a REAL disaster story about a REAL life incident that happened and for once it truly reflects that sincerity and intensity.
Overall, “Deepwater Horizon” is a gripping, harrowing visual experience that will make you feel all the right feels for the right reasons. It’s a beautifully shot, brilliantly acted retelling of a true event that truly brings this inspiring tale of survival and heroes to life in the way all real life inspired movies should be: respectfully and realistically.
Mark Wahlberg, Mike Williams,Dylan O’Brien,Caleb Holloway, Kate Hudson, Felicita Williams, Kurt Russell, Jimmy Harrell, John Malkovich, Vidrine Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Fleytas, Brad Leland, Robert Kaluza, J.D. Evermore, Dewey Revette, Ethan Suplee