Film Reviews

Preview: Deepwater Horizon (2016)


Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez

Director: Peter Berg

A True Story About Real Heroes… Or so runs the tagline.

Peter Berg is the guy who brought you Lone Survivor (he produced there, directs here), a film that I rather liked. Perhaps he likes the theme of heroism and true stories, and if you do too, then you’ll probably get a kick out of this film.

It stars as it’s two all-American, blue collar heroes the charismatic Wahlberg and Russell, who have always done well in this kind of role. And as a certain companion of mine pointed out at the screening, Kate Hudson is as “adorable” as always, while Malkovich sports a delightful accent (Creole?) in the pursuit of his foolish and dastardly plans. It’s a pretty good cast.

The problem is really that the set up is kind of long, and exposition heavy. Perhaps it needs to be to make us care about all the individuals in what is quite a large cast, all of whom we need to know in order to invest emotionally in the film. We also need to be introduced to oil rigs and their workings to understand why and what exactly happened. Once it gets going, the action, suspense and tension ratchet up, and are sometimes floated against the backdrop of the US flag in an amusingly patriotic way. It gets good, and is very entertaining.

But is it a good film? I often wonder about the ethics of making films based on true events, not that I don’t like them, but just that truth has to be bent to fit the film format. How much of what you’re watching is true? How do you make the truth entertaining? It seems to do ok here, and if you like explosions and disaster (I do!) you’ll have fun with this one. But I also can’t see it going down in history as any kind of movie game changer.

Also, Rodriguez in this film is really wonderful, but I wondered if she would have the friendly non-sexist banter in real life that she had in this film on an oil rig. She’s very intriguing, I think. But she’s also the one who falls apart and needs a man to help her when things get really hairy (trying not to spoil anything for you here), which was disappointing. Did this really occur? Or was it to create drama? I don’t know.

See It If: you like action movies, but be aware that it takes a little while to kick off. The disaster is great on the big screen.


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