"Deepwater Horizon" Tells a Personal Story

Movie Review - Jackie K Cooper
"Deepwater Horizon" (Lionsgate/Summit)

"Deepwater Horizon"is the best action film of the summer and perhaps of the year. Director Peter Berg has assembled a first rate cast to bring the true story of the BP offshore drilling rig disaster to the screen. This horrific occurrence took place in 2010 so the event is still generally remembered by many people. Still the details of what actually occurred are not as well known.

The film is primarily seen from the perspective of Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), an electrical engineer on the oil rig. It is he who is shown, early in the movie, at his home with his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter, With this much of a detailed backstory it is easy to assume that he is going to be the hero of the piece, and he is.

After a little family time, Williams joins some of the members of his crew for a helicopter ride out to the oil rig. He will be there for several weeks, at least that is the plan. But from the start the audience is aware there is something awry down beneath the depths of the gulf waters. One thing leads to another and with it the suspense builds and builds. When virtually all hell breaks loose the audience is right in the middle of all that transpires.

The emotions that these scenes of violence and tragedy create are deeply felt by the audience because the screenplay has been complete enough to make you care about these characters. It is amazing how much information about various individuals can be conveyed in relatively little screen time.

In addition to the words of the script the actors also build on their characterizations through subtle body language and facial expressions. Wahlberg comes on screen in his most likable mode. His opening scenes with the family endear him straight off to the members of the audience and they are with him all the way. However it is not just Wahlberg's good guy persona that immediately creates the character; it is also his acting skills with which he utilizes every moment of that time to define who and what his character is.

Kate Hudson does the same thing with her character. She has a minor role in the film but she uses some major talent to make Felicia Williams' terror come to life when she learns of the danger in which her husband finds himself. Plus Kurt Russell has now reached the age where he is the wise older man in the group and he pulls his share of the load in creating that person. Also worthy of acknowledgement for their acting contributions are Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O'Brien, John Malkovich and Ethan Suplee.

The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.

There is nothing better than a good action film when all the elements come together in the right way. Director Peter Berg puts all these pieces together with near perfection. "Deepwater Horizon" is a surprisingly good action film and it sets a high bar for other action films to come.

I scored "Deepwater Horizon" a high water 8 out of 10.

Jackie K Cooper