Deepwater Horizon is directed by Peter Berg who has also directed Lone Survivor, Battleship and Hancock. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin, John Malkovich, and Gina Rodriguez. Our writers are Matthey Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand while also giving credit to David Rohde and Stephanie Saul for writing the article on the tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon. And it’s the dramatization of the oil rig disaster that occurred back in 2010 that had the worst oil spill in US history.
I went to this movie with a group of friends and to our surprise we were the only ones in the theatre. I hadn’t heard much about this movie, and the box office returns were rather poor, it opened in the number 2 spot, and still has yet to surpass its budget. Which is sad because this movie deserves more money! So, let’s talk about it.
Mark Walhberg is our lead actor, playing the character of Mike Williams, and he does a fantastic job in Deepwater Horizon. I haven’t been the biggest fan of his past works like The Italian Job, or those early on in his career. But his role was much different than what I was used to and I really enjoyed it. In the opening scenes we see him interacting with his wife and daughter, and it’s made clear that he is going away for almost a months’ time to work on the oil rig, aptly named the Deepwater Horizon, which is a normal thing. The relationships created between our main character and his family feels genuine, it takes its time to build the relationship that is there, but too much time that the movie drags. It never feels forced, we only spend as much time as we need to with them. The opening act of Deepwater Horizon is very strong, and does not waste its time on needless dialogue or events.
And that’s something this movie does very well, building existing relationships. It’s something that carried us through the first act, not just with Mike’s family, but the crew on the Deepwater Horizon. And when the disaster hits towards the end, we really feel that sense of urgency and intensity because we care about these characters. The relationships built between the characters aboard the Deepwater Horizon feels, just like everything else so far in this film, genuine and real. We see Mark Wahlberg walking around the oil rig making small talk with some of the crew members, as if he’s known them for a long time. They mess around with each other and poke fun, and it gives it a very realistic feeling. This opening act was very, very strong and good. The relationships is one of the strongest aspects of this film.
The only issue I can really think of with the first act is how quick it gives out information. It is very good, and very strong but may go by a little too fast. But even that I feel is nitpicking, but I would say is something that needs to be addressed. There is a lot of stuff being thrown at the audience, especially when we finally get onto the Deepwater Horizon and we meet the crew. But, it feels genuine, it feels real. It’s a very good first act. This does kind of lead me into my next issue, although a small one, is pacing. There are some small pacing problems, kind of like what I mentioned before. The opening bombards with audience with a lot of information in a short amount of time and doesn’t settle down until the end of the first act. But this isn’t a big issue, the pacing here wouldn’t be something I would bring this film down for.
Deepwater Horizon is mostly about the crew and the events that led up to the disaster. And although this is probably the best way for us as an audience to understand how bad this was, there were times when the film would give us information by making us read. I understand this needs to be done when the film ends and tells the audience about the characters after the disaster, and stuff like that, that I don’t have a problem with. But when it tells how big the crew is aboard the Deepwater Horizon via a title card, it makes me ask why it couldn’t have just been a throwaway line of dialogue somewhere. Maybe at the end when, where they can disclose the size of the crew for a bigger impact. But again, this isn’t a big issue.
One thing this film does very well is building to the disaster. I mentioned earlier that this film likes to take its time. The disaster is more of the climax than anything, the rest of it is tension building. And when it hits, it hits hard. Deepwater Horizon has some great visuals and special effects and it really gives that realistic element to the movie. From here on we really feel for our characters as they begin the evacuation process to get everyone off the oil rig to survive.
When it’s all said and done, Deepwater Horizon is a movie that wants to teach its audience about a situation they may not know very much about. The film knows the severity of the situation and takes its subject matter very seriously. It builds the relationships as if we were apart of the crew so we, as an audience, can feel the same feelings as the real life crew did on that fateful day. And when the film ends, we feel that loss that the survivors are feeling. We see how it impacts our main character, which was, for me, the saddest part of this movie. I don’t want to give too much away, but the ending of this film is very sad and powerful which almost brought me to tears because of how careful the movie handled it’s subject matter.
In the end, Deepwater Horizon is a very good, very tragic, film about a disaster that occurred just a few years ago. The film shows us how the disaster on the oil rig could have been prevented, while at the same time showing us how it personally affected the crew. The only issues I have with the movie are all small, it has some pacing issues, the first act gives a lot of information really quick, but really never leaves its audience in the dust. I loved Deepwater Horizon, I thought it was very well made. I’m giving Deepwater Horizon an 8/10 with a high recommend.