Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Directed by Peter Berg
Country: USA

“Deepwater Horizon” is the title of Peter Berg’s new action thriller. It was based on true events and stars Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and John Malkovich.
The screenplay, written by Matthew Sand and Matthew Michael Carnahan, chronicles the tragic events occurred on April 20, 2010, aboard the Deepwater Horizon, an offshore drilling rig explored by BP and located in the Gulf of Mexico. An unexpected blowout led to several explosions, conducting the rig to the bottom of the sea two days later, causing 11 deaths and the largest oil spill in U.S. waters.

Mike Williams (Wahlberg), a family man and a savvy chief electrical engineer at the oil rig, prepares to leave the comfort of his home and spend another 21 days working on the sea. Jimmy Harrell (Russell) is an old friend and a very experienced supervisor at the same platform, who joins him to work.
A few abnormal signs initially indicate that something might be wrong with some mechanical parts of the rig. As competent professionals, Mike and Jimmy feel more tranquil if specific pressure tests can be run.
However, the BP executives, Donald Vidrine (Malkovich) and Robert Kaluza (Brad Leland), moved by greediness and recklessness, disregard the warnings and signs, ordering the discontinuance of subsequent safety operations that would avoid disastrous consequences.
Sadly, the blowout preventer didn’t work either, and the battle for survival becomes an agonizing reality.

The film doesn’t stand out in terms of storytelling, which is pure routine, relying more on the afflictive situations lived by the crew, overwhelming images of devastating fires and explosions, and also introducing the expected drama lived by Mike’s wife (Kate Hudson).
Director Peter Berg (“Hancock”, “Battleship”, “Lone Survivor”) is known for resorting to fireworks in his approaches, and “Deepwater Horizon” is no exception. He knows how to capture panicking moments with accuracy, yet we have the clear notion that he dramatizes as much as he accentuates the heroic moments. By the end, the scene that shows a disconsolate father asking for his missing son with an aggressive posture seemed totally contrived and unnecessary to me.

As the finale comes near, we’re taken to more and more shaky camera movements toward an unsurprising conclusion.
Wahlberg and Russell’s performances are part of the thrills, assuring the steadiness that Berg’s approach failed to hit.
Fair entertainment is assured, though.