Friday 30 September 2016

Deepwater Horizon Movie Review By Carleton Rutter

Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dylan O’Brien, Kate Hudson and Kurt Russell

What’s it all about?

Based on the true story of the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded in April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

What are my thoughts?

Over the years, Mark Wahlberg is an actor who has grown on me a lot. Although it was in Three Kings (1999) in which he co-starred with George Clooney and Ice Cube that I first came to see him as an actor. It was Perfect Storm (2000) (Also co-starring George Clooney) that I really took to him. Since then I have followed his career with interest.

In this movie, Wahlberg takes centre stage as Mike Williams, one of the principal oil rig workers who says goodbye to his wife, Felicia (Kate Hudson) and daughter to spend another three weeks on the job. He is joined by Jimmy “Mr Jimmy” Harrell (Kurt Russell) the chief engineer and head operational honcho. When they arrive on the rig, they find that a crucial cement job hasn't taken place. Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) of BP (the owning company) Poo poo’s Mr Jimmy’s concerns, ordering more tests and in doing so starts a chain reaction that leads to destruction of the rig.

​Deepwater Horizon is a thrilling and extremely well made disaster movie, that did not disappoint. Berg and the writers do a superb job at making the operation and problems of working on a rig accessible to the layman. This starts with Wahlberg’s character explaining to his daughter what his job entails and what the rig is about, making the important distinction that Deepwater Horizon is a floating exploration rig, not a fixed oil rig. This scene was reminiscent of Tom Hank’s character Jim Lovell in Apollo 13 as he explained the mission to the moon to his son. This is further aided by no nonsense descriptive subtitles throughout the movie that help you further understand what is unfolding on the screen.

​The movie is universally well acted. Mark Wahlberg puts in if not the best – one of the best performances of his career. This movie marks the second time he has worked with director Berg after Lone Survivor (2013) which was also based on a true story.

Kurt Russell is also excellent as the chiselled and experienced senior hand. John Malkovich in support as the corporate douche is spot on, perfect casting there. Dylan O’ Brien of The Maze Runner fame is good in support. Special mention should also be made to Gina Rodriguez who played Andrea Fleytas, the only woman on the crew. Kate Hudson as Wahlberg’s on screen wife (And real life step daughter of Russell) was very good, but had little to do other than stand nervously in front of a TV or hang on a phone.

Deepwater Horizon is amazingly shot and is a totally immersive experience. I did not see it in IMAX but I think it would be pretty mind blowing with that screen. Kudos goes out to the crew as well for recreating an entire rig just for the movie in Chalmette, Louisiana.It is reported to be the biggest single set ever created for a movie. As regards the movie itself, although I knew what was going to happen, the tension is expertly cranked up so when the explosions do start I was completely locked into the plight of these brave men and woman. It also does a tremendous job of opening a window on this profession and how damn right brave these people are on a daily basis and horrors they face when things go wrong. As for my empathy for the crew you get to know more back story for Wahlberg’s character than anyone else's but that didn’t make me feel any less for men I didn't know. When the movie changes gear to full-on disaster movie, it is incredibly tense.

I highly recommend you see Deepwater Horizon, it is a fitting tribute to the disaster which is to this day the worst oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in US history. If you are looking for a tense, well acted, well shot movie that does not outstay its welcome (1 hour 45 mins) check it out.

Deepwater Horizon is now on general release in the UK.

Review By Carleton Rutter