Based on the true story of the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, the film tells the story of the men and women lost and who survived the disaster as well as the telling the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.
Mark Wahlberg leads the cast in the Peter Berg-directed film. After the success of Lone Survivor (also starring Wahlberg), Berg is back to tell another harrowing story of survival. The film runs an hour and forty-five minutes and in some ways it seems shorter than that in how fast the film goes by. The film is basically told in real time. When the disaster strikes, there is no time for rest for the characters or even the viewers. These people are bent on survival and it’s a complete thrill ride the whole time. By doing this method, this isn’t much for tear-jerker moments until basically the end when you see the survivors reunited with their loved ones. This doesn’t hurt the film at all because of how much it wanted to pay tribute to the people on board the rig. Though I admit I would have loved to have seen more of Kate Hudson’s character as Wahlberg’s wife back at home worrying about the fate of her husband. Some of the character developing is a little lacking as well with some of the major characters on the rig such as Gina Rodriguez’s character as well as Dylan O’Brien’s. The only characters we get a bigger feel of are Wahlberg, Kurt Russell as the manager of the rig, and John Malkovich in the villain role as the representative of BP oil. These flaws aside, the script is extremely engaging and never lags. So when the events unfold you’re hooked until the very end and finally breathing for air once characters are saved. The set piece itself is also a character worth noting that really helps push the story forward using almost every area of the rig for our characters to have to escape from, and the effects of the explosions provide just as many thrills in how horrific it makes the disaster seem, as if we are really there.
Mark Wahlberg does a solid job as our lead and provides great heroism and charm and shares great on-screen chemistry with Kate Hudson (even if their time together is limited). As mentioned above, Hudson doesn’t get much screen time, but she definitely sells what she can in the scenes she does have upon hearing news of the explosion. Kurt Russell also gives off a great performance in showing his leadership and determination to ensure the safety of others, and willing to put their lives ahead of his. He also has excellent confrontational moments with John Malkovich who knocks it out of the park as the greedy and careless BP representative. The rest of the supporting cast such as Rodriguez and O’Brien do a good job with what they have, but there’s still much to sell with their characters with the lack of how much we get to know them.
Despite some underdeveloped and underused characters, Deepwater Horizon is thrilling and emotional look at the bravery displayed of the survivors of the disaster and the will to survive. Along with great set pieces and visual effects, and all around solid performances from the cast and another feature from Berg as a director.