Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Movie Review: Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Deepwater Horizon (2016) - Directed by Peter Berg; Written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand; Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Ethan Suplee.

By Kenny Howell

Director Peter Berg has carved out a niche for himself the last several years.

He has perfected the blue collar Hollywood film, but not necessarily ones that are obsessed with that they are about blue collar people. And all of them have been based on true stories, starting with Friday Night Lights, and moving on to Lone Survivor, Patriots Day, and this story about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst in United States history.

There could be a lot to roll your eyes at in these stories if they were given the usual Hollywood treatment, but Berg has a deft hand to make the story very human, occasionally touching, and lots of Explosions in the Sky score.

With Deepwater Horizon, he tells the story of many of the men on the rig and what they had to do survive the horrific blast. Some did not make it home, as 11 lost their lives. Mark Wahlberg (Pain & Gain) is the lead here as Chief Electrical Engineer Mike Williams, who along side his supervisor Jimmy Harrell, played by Kurt Russell (The Battered Bastards of Baseball), try to warn BP workers that a disaster could be coming. BP is behind schedule, so they cut corners to get production started. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong and the rig explodes.

This might be my least favorite of Berg's films over the last several years, but there is still plenty of positives. The biggest here is that he takes the time to lay out how the problem arose and led to the disaster. He visits different parts of the rig to show what they do, and let's you know just went wrong. It makes something that is probably a lot more complicated easier to digest, so we can move on and get invested in the characters. I am not sure that part is fully there, but it is enough to carry the story forward and make this another fine work by Berg.

Rating: **1/2

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