Movie Review: Deepwater Horizon...Wahlberg and Russell Kill It!

Deepwater Horizon is painful to sit through as it is a miracle that anyone survived this horror . Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg carry this film, but of course it is the history of this disaster that tragically makes the action spine -tingling because this a true story. Both Russell as Jim Harrell,Transocean manager of Installation, and Wahlberg, as Mike Williams, Chief Electronics Technician for Transocean, have a wonderful way of conveying genuine emotion. Whereas Emmy and Obie award winner, John Malkovich, gives a performance peppered with mannerisms. He is appropriately cast in the role of the villain from the oil company BP who is trying to cut costs which leads to this disaster. His character is largely responsible for the worst oil spill in history.

Deepwater Horizon was an ultra deepwater, semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned by Transocean , but leased to BP from 2001 to 2013. At this time a violent explosion ignited a fireball visible forty miles away. On April 22, 2013, Deepwater Horizon sank, leaving the well gushing at the seabed and causing the largest oil spill in U.S.waters. Oil gushed for 87 days.

If you stay for the end of the credits you'll see that Malkovich's character was sued and tried for manslaughter, but the case was dismissed. Lawyers rule, subtext of film. And thus the true story of the punishment to BP's employee responsible for this disaster is reduced to a credit scrawl at the end of this film. Unfortunately after witnessing the preventable heroic deaths of eleven workers, the audience was walking out and mumbling while not paying much attention to the diabolical culprit BP and the courtroom decision regarding this tragic moment in history. Perhaps if Berg and his writers had been able to highlight in this political and economic disaster in which BP gets away with murder by merely paying money -- 54 billion-- for its negligence, we would have a more important film. Critics can fault Deepwater Horizon for many things. Most importantly for not telling enough back story about the eleven heroes who died, however, at least the story of what happened on the Deepwater Horizon was told and it was not another silly animated tale which Hollywood seems enamored with. Oh Boo! Berg & Co tried to tell the tale of how corporate greed kills. And Malkovich, that killer, was more concerned with the bottom line than safety.
Critics have feared this would be a sentimental film that is indulging the emotions excessively. Not true. This was a disaster without equal. It's story needs to be told. Peter Berg directed with great skill and builds the momentum carefully so that you are able to understand 'somewhat' what happened to the Deepwater Horizon. The film begins with Mark Wahlberg surrounded by his family. His wife is Kate Hudson who is adequate but barely carries her scenes emotionally. Their daughter has a complicated speech to explain how oil is trapped at the bottom of the sea and how a rig operates. This exposition at the hands of a toddler, Pixie Hankins, does not work not because of Hankin's acting but because it is highly manipulative, nevertheless, Berg and writers Matthew Caranhan and Matthew Sand are trying to set the scenario for the impending disaster. Early on the sound becomes the biggest character and while it indicates impending doom, it builds momentum and helps to tells a complicated story viscerally.
The courage of Mike Williams, played wonderfully by Wahlberg takes you home as does Jimmy Harrell portrayed by a beautifully aging Kurt Russell.

Oh, this is a good film. Deepwater Horizon is well worth price of admission. It is an important film with pyrotechnics as one of its stars. If an action film, Deepwater Horizon, is what America needs to pay attention to and to expose corporate greed, bring it on!