By Christian DiMartino
Is it terrible that the chorus of the Ke$ha song “Blow” was stuck in my head while watching Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon? Yeah probably, but I never said I was a good person. Basically if you are aware of the story, you know that this place about to blow-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh. Alright, I’m done.
Deepwater Horizon is a strange case that brought last year’s disaster movie misfire, Everest, to mind. This is a better film than that one was, or it’s better crafted at least. But yet both films suffer from the same flaw. The flaw? Deepwater Horizon works as a disaster movie, but not quite as a disaster movie based on a true story. Yes, this is a true story, and it’s one that should be told. But yet like Everest, there’s just a few too many characters to invest yourself in.
The main focus here is on Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), a loving father and husband. You see a bit of his marriage to his loving wife, Felicia (Kate Hudson, finally in a good movie again). But that’s not the central purpose here. He is about to set off to Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling station placed in the middle of the ocean, for 21 days. So, before we know it, it’s “Bye Felicia” (Eh? See what I did there?) and hello Deepwater.
We’re introduced to a few of the team members, those being played by Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien, and Gina Rodriguez. We also meet a BP head, played by John Malkovich. I’m of course a big Malkovich fan, but his performance here is just a little… off. Really though, it’s the carelessness of BP that leads to the big event: in the middle of the night, Deepwater Horizon blows up, and soon everyone onboard is scrambling to get the hell out of there.
The set-up is solid, though I guarantee you that BP will not like this film. Middle fingers up, put’em hands high. But of course it’s the action that we want to see, and in that department, Berg does deliver. It is quite the spectacle, and watching the characters fight for survival can sometimes be a little unsettling, especially because people have bones sticking out and all that.
Trouble is though, apparently 11 people died. They’re shown during the credits, which is an effective move on Berg’s part. But yet while all of the madness is going on, you’re too caught up in the madness to truly realize the tragedy. You have to wait for it to all blow over to get the full effect.
Wahlberg does his usual solid work, as well as Russell. Malkovich, great of an actor as he is, has a distracting accent. Maybe those old people living in his head have finally gotten to him (wink). The film is fairly well crafted, and there’s some witty dialogue. But in all honesty, those looking for the effective blowout of Berg’s Lone Survivor will have to look elsewhere.
Still, it’s thrilling and entertaining film, and a story that needed to be told. And I’ll tell you what: I’m never going to BP again.