Deepwater Horizon Review

Director: Peter Berg

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez, John Malkovich, Dylan O’Brien, Kate Hudson

The Overview

A story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history. (Source: IMDb

The Good

Disaster movies can be a little hit or miss, but for me, Deepwater Horizon was a hit, and I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it! 

The action in it is pretty spectacular, and if you’re a big fan of things blowing up, then there’s no way you can leave disappointed! 

Far from glossing up a true story for a big Hollywood blockbuster, Deepwater Horizon remained dirty and gritty throughout, which really added to that sense of realism. It was chaotic and claustrophobic at times in the action scenes, and really difficult to pick out the main stars, but I liked this! Too many disaster movies put a shining halo around their main stars and always keeps them at the forefront, but for Deepwater Horizon, the situation and the action was at the forefront, rather than being a vehicle for Wahlberg. 

That’s not to say there aren’t heroics throughout, but I liked that it was a lot less “God Bless America” than some other Disaster movies. Although it didn’t completely ignore these tropes, they were kept to a minimum, meaning it didn’t stray too far into cheesy action movie territory, and maintained that sense of gritty realism. 

Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich were the highlights in the film for me, although the performances do all get a little lost when things start going haywire, they did a good job of establishing the characters. The emphasis on BP as the villains of the piece was obviously effective; I overheard two girls in the loos afterwards say they’d never buy petrol from BP again!! 

The Bad

Whilst the cast are good on the whole, Mark Wahlberg’s character is the only one really given a proper backstory. It’s a tightly run story with a fairly short runtime, so not all characters could be given a weighty backstory, but it did make it that much more difficult to feel truly emotionally invested in all of the other characters, which was a shame. 

I appreciated the short-ish runtime, which is quite rare in action movies today, but I did feel some parts were a little rushed, particularly the ending. We got to see some of the after effects and had an epilogue with some facts about the real events, but it did feel like it wrapped up pretty quickly, which was a little jarring. 

Whilst the human loss was understandably at the forefront, it felt it was missing a little of the environmental impact. It didn’t need to beat this issue into the ground, but it was surprising to see this missing completely. 

The Verdict

I saw this movie and you should too. It’s not going to change your life, but it is undoubtedly a really good time at the movies! It’s an action movie which feels constantly grounded in reality, and the effects are particularly excellent. A solid popcorn flick which is easily amongst the better movies of the disaster genre. Worth a watch! 

Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a totally misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below! 

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