“Deepwater Horizon” | Movie Review

cop1Grade (A)

A harrowing tale of true-events on an oil rig, that delivers all the intended intensity.

This film follows the events of April 20, 2010 when the offshore oil rig the Deepwater Horizon explodes and causes the worst oil spill in the nation’s history dumping over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and taking the lives of 11 workers. This one stars; Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien, and is directed by Peter Berg.

Now yes, Berg did bring us “Battleship” but when he and Wahlberg last worked together in “Lone Survivor” I thought the result was a surprisingly dramatic film that felt realistic, and one that brought out one of Wahlberg’s finest performances. So with them teaming up once again to recreate the story of this recent disaster, there was a good amount of potential. Potential that was met and surpassed by what this movie delivers.

Peter Berg crafted a visually and acoustically beautiful film as he realistically tells the story of this harrowing and tragic day these events happened on. Like he did in “Lone Survivor” Berg tells this story as a memorial to those who lost their lives in this accident.

The story doesn’t really follow a normal three-act structure but it excellently takes a two-part approach by introducing the characters and the scenarios in the first half, which then flows immediately into the disaster that unfolds. Really never letting up till the end, and it completely latched on to my attention and never let go. The characters are excellently introduced and quickly developed, the rapport and personalities of many are given and it all effectively creates a likable, down to earth group of characters, you can surprisingly connect with given they had such condensed development.

Now great performances all around didn’t hurt either with everyone bringing a likable realism to their roles. Wahlberg was solid in the lead, he had many great moments but was mildly out shined by the great Kurt Russell. Russell is Russell, so to be slightly overshadowed by a performance of his means you at least had the opportunity to be in a film with him. Kurt was fantastic as Mr. Jimmy and felt every bit the part of a veteran oil rig worker, as well as capturing his anger from countless battles with corporate interests. Something he conveyed with subtle, but convincing impact.


His character had some very intense back-and-forth’s with Malkovich’s character and it was great watching them work together. They build the situation this disaster was the result of in compelling fashion, and they didn’t need a lot of screen-time to do it. This was such a compelling film to watch because it felt informative and brought me into the lives of the people who experienced this, and I didn’t feel it was overly convoluted with Hollywood fluff. It stuck to the story and didn’t change it for the sake of dramatics which is a respectful thing to do when people lost their lives in this accident.

The other thing that made this film so compelling to watch was the quality of its creation. Berg showed a great eye with the camera and it was an immersive experience as the power of the disaster was perfectly captured so convey the violent intensity of this terrible accident. Also something that needs mentioning was how awesome the sound design was. Watching this movie in IMAX felt like being inside this rig as the pipes running all throughout this structure came to life as the sounds of stress and pressure came in one ear and out the other following the eyes of the characters.

This movie captured with a harsh realism the ordeal these workers went through and it creates respect for the dangers of their careers. The only thing that could have been explored more was the small peek the film takes at the pointing fingers between who was to blame after this incident took place. It really interested me but was only glanced on and I really would have liked more of this angle to the incident explored. But as it was, this film is still highly recommended, and in theaters if possible.

Time: 107 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For prolonged intense disaster sequences and related disturbing images)