Release Date: September 30, 2016
Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin, James DuMont, Joe Chrest, Gina Rodriguez, Brad Leland, John Malkovich, David Maldonado, J.D. Evermore, Ethan Suplee, Jason Pine, Jason Kirkpatrick, Robert Walker Branchaud, Dylan O’Brien, Jonathan Angel, Bill McMullen, Jeremy Sande
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 minutes
Production Company: Summit Entertainment, Participant Media, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Closest to the Hold Productions, Leverage Entertainment, Imagenation Abu Dhabi FZ, Lionsgate
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Budget: $156,000,000 (estimated)
Just like everyone else who wakes up every day to go to work, you expect to come home to your loved ones. You never know what the day will throw at you, and that’s what can make life a thrill ride. Though some jobs are more dangerous than others, and the average person doesn’t think about those who get dirty on a daily basis so your life can be easier. That’s what director Peter Berg (Hancock, Lone Survivor, Battleship) wanted to accomplish with Deepwater Horizon. His popularity with large scale films is growing, and one day he may be among the greats.
Peter Berg always does an excellent job with depth, showing the entire scope of the environment that you’re witnessing. He still has that style with his sweeping, long shots to paint a vivid picture. While this is appreciated, some of his shots to set the film up were unnecessary. The film is 107 minutes long, and the runtime could’ve been cut down if these shots weren’t included. There’s no reason to concentrate so hard on random blades of grass or a structure that serves no purpose later in the film.
The Deepwater Horizon structure was without question a sight to see. A majority of people don’t have the slightest idea of all the inner workings of an offshore drilling rig, and, besides all the great shots Berg produced, him illustrating the construct was a homerun. He was able to do this in a number of different ways with subtle titles letting you know what a certain test was run for and the entire makeup of the compound from top to bottom. The audience got to see all sides of everything, from the ocean floor, the inner piping, different positions held within the rig, to the politics behind it all. A new appreciation was found for the hard work these men and woman do.
Though it all doesn’t matter if the cast to fill these roles can’t flip the bill. Mark Wahlberg (Mike Williams) is a fine actor, but at times he’s criticized for playing the same role over and over again. I personally don’t agree with this claim, but can admit to a few examples. That wasn’t the case here. He seemed to have a different personality than most are used to. That’s most likely due to him playing a real-life person. Another stand out was that of John Malkovich playing a stern individual that never holds his tongue. I understood where he came from, and he posed a worthy opposition to the direction the crew wanted to stand with. Another great portion of the film was inclusion of Mike’s family. This guy was a loving husband and father to his wife and daughter, which made the ending that much harder to watch.
So as the film put all the pieces together, and you know all the characters, the crap finally hit the fan. It was a true terror seeing what the men and women had to go through when all failed on the rig. The effects were top notch and would’ve been even better if this was seen in 3D with so much debris flying towards the screen. I found myself, along with everyone else, gasping for breath as each explosion popped; tossing bodies like rag dolls. It was such a sad day, and it put so much into perspective. Then the fear of loved ones watching this unfold on the news, not knowing anything other than vague reports on the incident, was all they could hold onto. Another nitpick was a line of dialogue that was completely misplaced, and it’s not clear why it was included. It’s hard to imagine any human that would sink to such depths when a hundred lives are in jeopardy. Maybe it was too much intensity in the scene, but I was turned off by seeing one man demean a fellow crewmate.
The film overall is enjoyable from every side you could think of. There were brave men and women that died that day, and their story needs to be told. With this being the greatest oil spill in U.S. History, it feels it would’ve been wrong if it didn’t come to the forefront. And the studio did a great job picking the right man to bring it all together. This is a film that will only be remembered for a short time for most, but there are those that still have to live with the loss of people they loved.