‘Deepwater Horizon’ is an emotionally powerful in-depth character piece – REVIEW

Mark Wahlberg stars in the movie adaption of the real life Deepwater Horizon oil spill that happened on April 20th, 2010

Peter Berg is a very hit or miss director. Sometimes giving us gold like Lone Survivor, and other times missing the boat completely like Battleship. When Berg gives effort, his movies are quite powerful, but then he can turn a switch and deliver us movies that are entirely unwatchable. Luckily, Deepwater Horizon falls into his latter category because it’s a fun action-thriller with a focus on its characters and their lives prior to the event.

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We get to see Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) home with his wife (Kate Hudson) and daughter. A lot of it is set-up and foreshadowing for the big explosions that the audience know are coming. This makes it feels like the movie didn’t prepare for its setup. It’s like Berg had no idea what to do with the start of the film. Even when Mike goes to the Deepwater Horizon, it still is a big exposition for what’s to come. The characters explain one by one how this pipe works and how this machinery works and it fails to make any of it compelling or interesting. It gets frustrating because the movie teases way too much of things to come that it forgets to make it’s current exposition any fun.

What works right from the start are the small character moments. The moment with a character’s car and the time spent with Mike’s daughter makes for some emotional moments later on. They keep bringing it up when a character gives up or loses hope, and this brings the movie to a whole new level when the disaster does strike. Out of all its cast members, Mark Wahlberg gives the best performance and possibly the best of his career. He plays someone who is very relatable and delivers at the most emotional parts of the movie. All way through, he gives a convincing performance, and the audience knows from the get-go that this isn’t the Transformers: Age of Extinction Mark Wahlberg.

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The movie is at it’s best when the disaster strikes. Apart from some geographical problems, the film divides its explosions to add suspense. The mere fact that Wahlberg’s character is on Skype with his wife when this happens adds to the emotional component, while still maintaining a sense of fear. This is well balanced throughout the movie. Visually, the movie does a great job eliciting fear and a sense of grandeur. When the camera does zoom out, and you see the fiery pit in the middle of the Golf of Mexico, you can only imagine the fear and stress these characters are going through. To think this happened in real life and everyone survived, is incredible, and Berg perfectly captures this.

There’s no doubt that Berg showed up and delivered for this movie. He takes a weak start and turns it into something incredible by the end. Still, Deepwater Horizon is at its most comfortable when disaster strikes. But when it does hit, the movie’s level goes up, and the characters help lead you pass the film’s faults.

REVIEW: B

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4 thoughts on “‘Deepwater Horizon’ is an emotionally powerful in-depth character piece – REVIEW

  1. Jason October 2, 2016 / 3:59 PM

    Good review. Yeah, that’s about the score I gave this movie. It had weak beginning (a bit confusing with all the oil rig jargon talk) and weak characterization, but Berg does know how to makes such a disastrous event entertaining (cinematically speaking).

    • Zachary Doiron October 2, 2016 / 4:12 PM

      I’m glad it ended strong, because I was almost sleeping in the beginning! Haha

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