Review of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg’s latest collaboration about the oil spill disaster aboard the Deepwater Horizon
By Carter Bagley
I remember I was in elementary school when the whole BP Oil Spill was plastered across the news sites and tv channels and I really didn’t know why it happened at the time. I just remember seeing all the animals covered in oil and people helping with the crisis. Someone probably told me but I didn’t know the complete cause of it until about a year or two ago. Then I heard news that Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg were going to collaborate again after 2013’s “Lone Survivor” on this new film titled “Deepwater Horizon” about the cause and the survivors of the crisis. Peter Berg is pretty hit or miss though in my opinion as “The Rundown”, “Friday Night Lights” and “Lone Survivor” were all excellent movies but “Hancock” was very disappointing and “Battleship” was awful in almost every way imaginable. I was interested in the story though and the duo teaming up again and then got even more interested when the rest of the cast including Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien, John Malkovich and Kate Hudson were all announced in starring roles. The film follows Wahlberg’s character Mike Williams who is leaving his wife (Hudson) and young daughter at home to spend a few weeks on the oil rig Deepwater Horizon. On arrival he met up with Jimmy Harrell (Russell) who has authority over the crew and the running of the rig and Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez) who’s also a worker on the rig. Almost as soon as they get there problems arise as the cold BP executive (Malkovich) tries to cut corners on safety precautions involving the oil drill and the pipe. This proves fatal as oil and mud erupt causing the infamous fire and ultimately the oil spill. Several crew members including Williams, Fleytas, Harrell and also Caleb Holloway (O’Brien) try to rescue as many people as they can and get off the engulfed oil rig alive. I was actually surprised by how this film turned out because I expected it be like an action-thriller but it ended up being a very saddening and raw film with a lot of buildup and intelligent conversations making it more than just the dumbed-down true story Hollywood has delivered time and time again. Wahlberg is excellent in the film and he doesn’t get enough credit for his actual talent that often gets overshadowed by other actors in his own movies. Christian Bale got all the recognition for “The Fighter” and the talking bear got all the laughs in “Ted”. He’s such a reliable leading man however and plays the working man hero that a lot of Americans can relate to. Kurt Russell shows up with a charming and likable performance in the film and he proves he can still carry a lead role if he wants to. The film has this excellent sense of oncoming dread for the whole thing as the audience can see what’s happening behind the scenes while the workers can’t and you know what’s going to occur and you just don’t know who’s going to make it through. John Malkovich gives a spectacular performance as the selfish and seedy executive Donald Vidrine who’s ignorance and selfishness pretty much causes the entire disaster. Dylan O’Brien’s role is pretty sizable too and he shows again that he’s definitely a rising star to watch out for in the coming years. Peter Berg definitely did something right with making this film and I can’t wait to see him and Wahlberg team up again for a third time with “Patriot’s Day” releasing in December about the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. “Deepwater Horizon” is an entertaining and enthralling film that is meant for a wide audience and I think anyone could find something about it that makes them invested. Overall it’s a win and one of the best films in recent memory and I can’t wait to see Berg and Wahlberg again in December.