Deepwater Horizon (2016)

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Oil and Trouble

Director: Peter Berg
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O'Brien, Kate Hudson

Director Peter Berg tells the real life story of the heroic workers on Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig which exploded on April 20th 2010. Through family man Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), he depicts the workers who fought to stay alive, in the aftermath of what became the worst oil spill in US history.

Berg has the first half of the picture effectively build up the tension, never feeling cheesy or heavyhanded. As more and more items go wrong with each passing moment, one gets the feeling this ticking timebomb of a rig is getting ever closer to breaking point. When that moment comes, it does not disappoint. The second half goes all out on the disaster movie elements, with the scale of this disaster being conveyed exceptionally well.

Image result for deepwater horizon film youtubeFor all these terrific moments, it's a shame the script doles out such paper thin characterization, resulting in the characters feeling more like archetypes, as opposed to fleshed out people to care about. Luckily, the talented cast do a great job in their roles, while sharing such naturalistic chemistry. Mark Wahlberg delivers the closest thing to an actual character, as we witness his family man interact with everybody in a faultlessly charming manner.

As the picture comes to a close, Peter Berg wisely chooses to end things on a memoriam, for the 11 lives lost in the real life disaster. A tasteful way to close the picture, which has been brought to life stunningly. Deepwater Horizon is strong as both a thriller, and a disaster movie.