Friday, October 7, 2016

Movie Review: "Deepwater Horizon" (2016)

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Movie"Deepwater Horizon"
Director: Peter Berg
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

Workers on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon fight for their lives when much of the equipment aboard fails, engulfing the entire rig in flames.

"Deepwater Horizon" is directed by Peter Berg and is based on the article "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours." It tells the story of the offshore oil rig named Deepwater Horizon and the events that led to the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. The primary focus of the film is on the rig workers themselves and the dangers they faced due to sub-par safety equipment and outside pressures from the corporate peons at BP to save money and forgo safety measures. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, Dylan O'Brien, and Kate Hudson, among many others.

Peter Berg takes a little bit of time to build up a few of these characters, primarily Wahlberg's Mike Williams, and details his relationship with his wife Felicia, played by Hudson, and his daughter Sydney, played by Stella Allen. He also gives us insights into Gina Rodriguez's Andrea Fleytas and her love for cars, as well as Russell's Jimmy Harrell, or Captain Jimmy as he's affectionately known on the rig, a man who shows great concern for the safety of his rig and his crew. Harrell butts heads with BP company man Vidrine, played by Malkovich, over the drilling schedule and the safety of the well. Some viewers may be off put by this build up, but we think Peter Berg does the perfect amount of character exploration to get us invested in the people aboard the Deepwater Horizon, enough for us to want them to succeed in getting out alive.

After this first act, as we all know from the real life story, everything goes to hell very quickly. Safety tests are run, and even these tests are not enough to definitively make the BP company men take notice that there is a huge problem. When it all hits the fan and comes to a head, it is quite the spectacle to see on the big screen. Chaos erupts everywhere as the rig explodes into a towering inferno of mud, flames, and death. The special effects and stunt work in "Deepwater Horizon" are really spectacular and breathtakingly amazing. Once the chaos begins, it never really stops until the very end of the film. The excitement and tension are revved up to 10, keeping you wide-eyed and on the edge of your seat until the surviving members of the crew are on safe ground.

Being a film about the BP gulf oil spill, we weren't exactly sure how "Deepwater Horizon" would portray the incident. We had mixed feelings going into this film for this reason and for a few others, mainly the obvious attempt to tug at the heartstrings of the audience from its trailers. We wound up being extremely and pleasantly surprised by this film. As we mentioned, Peter Berg does an excellent, concise job making us care about the characters and their plight, and the acting from all of the people in this cast is very solid. Gina Rodriguez, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich stand out for us as a few of the best performances, but really, the entire cast comes together to make this an excellent movie. The film is well paced and never feels overlong, and it's beautifully shot even in its insanity. It is definitely worth checking out on the big screen for the special effects alone.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 8/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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