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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, July 21, 2017

Movie Review - Deepwater Horizon

Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O'Brien, and Kate Hudson
Directed by Peter Berg

Forty-one miles off the Louisiana coastline in April 2010, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon is preparing to begin drilling into the ocean floor for BP.  However, BP executives wish to forego some important safety tests and, in the midst of prepping the drill, a catastrophic series of events occurs, wreaking an enormous amount of damage on the Deepwater Horizon, the Gulf of Mexico, and the workers on the rig, eleven of whom died on that fateful day.

Thus is the true story of Deepwater Horizon, director Peter Berg's depiction of the biggest oil spill in US history.  Although there are certainly some big name stars in this -- Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Kate Hudson -- this isn't a movie where "characters" really matter.  Sure, we're introduced to Wahlberg's electronics technician Mike Williams and his caring and doting wife (Hudson), but his character along with Russell's rig supervisor Jimmy Harrell and Gina Rodriguez's navigation officer Andrea Fleytas are nothing more than nondescript entities who are simply a conduit for the audience to bear witness to the horrors that unfolded.

Ultimately, that's the biggest issue with Deepwater Horizon as a film -- Berg is more interested in upping the ante when it comes to the action than dealing with the human side of things.  Sure, the BP guys are the big baddies, but their manipulative business acumen is never really explored.  Similarly, for the "good guys," there's minimal backstory and what little there is you almost wish Berg had left out because of its stereotypical simplicity.  Deepwater Horizon isn't a bad film by any means, but it's very rote and by-the-book in every aspect from the initial character development in the very first minutes to the written postscript right before the credits roll telling us about the real-life people involved.  I almost feel that I'd have been more invested seeing a documentary of the events rather than a fictionalized depiction even though Berg is certainly adept at creating some exciting action sequences in this new age, true life Poseidon Adventure of sorts.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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