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Film Review: Deepwater Horizon

Updated on December 4, 2016

Does Deepwater Horizon sink or swim? That is the question but the answer, however, is far more elusive and complex to produce. An intelligent reviewer, such as myself, would conclude it does neither.

Deepwater Horizon, a film based on the true events of the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, is a good, though not great, film. The film boasts a cast that includes Boston’s favorite “native son” Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien, and Kate Hudson. O’Brien and Wahlberg easily turned in the best performances, mainly because their real-life heroic counterparts did heroic things when the “shit got real.”

Director Peter Berg could have cut down on the high number of failed attempts at humor to humanize the characters before the impending disaster erupted, literally. Those parts were very reminiscent of a comedian have a bad night on stage. Secondly, Malkovich’s southern accent did not work at all, Malkovich sounded like he was auditioning for the villain role of a Disney animated movie. It was weird, unconvincing, and just weird.

Thirdly, Hudson, who played the wife of Wahlberg’s character, seemed a little bored at times except when she was crying.

The film does ramp up quite a bit when the rig explodes with mud after Malkovich’s character pressures lower-level employers to keep drilling against the warnings of Wahlberg’s and Russell’s characters. It is quite sad and very emotional when you realize how many people did not make it to the raft boats. It makes you think about the people on these rigs working to supply other Americans with gas to fuel our cars to drive to work or to heat our homes.

Anytime you have a film depicting man vs. the elements of nature, it is extremely humbling but after the crisis is averted and the smoke clears, all that is left are our tears of sadness and despair, and the reminder that we are slaves to our mortality and at any moment death can reach out and grab us whenever it so chooses, no matter how cautious and safety-minded we attempt to be. Nature cares little for our fragile state of existence and Deepwater Horizon paints a picture showing us just that. If you mix human greed and error in with natural elements, bad things will happen. Maybe not right away, but eventually.

Deepwater Horizon also succeeds in its portrayal of the plight of the men and women who work these oilrigs everyday to, essentially, provide us with the gas to fuel our cars and heat our homes. The realization of the need for people to drill gas and the fact that humans as nothing in the grand scheme of things is an important message, it keeps our hubris in check. However, it is also a theme that is dangerously close to becoming a “dead horse.” This is a film perfect for anyone who cares about the environment, oil rig workers, or simply detests Obama. In either case, Deepwater Horizon is a good film and offers an opportunity to learn a little bit about the oil industry and the effects it has on companies, people, and the environment in good and bad situations. If, nothing else, it’s a great way to spend an hour and a half and watch things blow up if you’re a secret pyromaniac. Don’t be a pyromaniac, that is not cool.

Dre's Rating

3 stars for Deepwater Horizon


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