DEEPWATER HORIZON Movie Review by The Commander


2 (out of 4 stars)
Peter Berg has successfully made the move from actor to action director with such films as Battleship, Lone Survivor, and now Deepwater Horizon, a film that chronicles the explosion and sinking of the oil platform off the coast of Louisiana in 2010—a maritime disaster, which created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.  The reporting of the story went on for months and caused BP oil to suffer substantial lawsuits and equity losses in the U.S. stock market. 
Everyone knows the story of the aftermath, but most people don't know the story of what actually happened that led up to that disastrous oil spill. 
This is an action-disaster film, which is portrayed through the use of CGI and sound stages.  Filmed just outside New Orleans in an abandoned amusement park, a re-creation of a scaled down oil rig and sets were built, since filming in the Gulf of Mexico was a little tenuous and impractical.  If you don't believe me, ask Kevin Costner about his filming Waterworld off the coast of Hawaii.  Overrun with nature's problems the budget skyrocketed out of control, due to every possible problem that could occur. 
This was a fun movie with action stars such as Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell leading the way.  Throw in a rough and tough female, Gina Rodriguez, and a quirky bad guy, John Malkovich, and you've got a well-rounded cast for an action-disaster thriller.
This is a movie that reminded me of the classic 1974 film, The Towering Inferno, where Paul Newman and Steve McQueen battle to save the occupants inside a burning high-rise tower.  Huge cast, lots of action.
The problem I had with this particular movie was that executive producer/actor, Mark Wahlberg, presented himself as the hero of the movie, which was impossible.  What director Berg doesn’t clarify, is the enormous size of the Deepwater Horizon’s platform.  Basically it's a multilevel football field.  Running from one end to the other, traveling up and down multiple flights is exhausting.  It would be tough for an NFL running back to accomplish this, especially with fire and explosions surrounding you.  It was within this ‘lone-wolf’ hero concept that I found a problem.  Everything seemed to focus around Wahlberg. 
In The Towering Inferno, an inference is given to its size.
Flaker: “I’d like to setup up communications next to the forward command center”.  Chief O’Hallorhan: “No, too dangerous.  Stay out of those elevators!”  Flaker: Well then, sir, we’ll just trot right up the stairs.”  O’Hallorhan: “Yeah, you just trot up to 79, huh?”  Flaker: Standing by in the lobby, sir.
That one sequence allowed the audience to equate the enormous size of the building.  However, nothing was introduced in the film to allow the audience to understand the size of the oil platform.  However, if you had ever been on an oil platform, you would understand improbability of a sole hero.
If you like disaster movies, then this one is OK.  But if you want to see a classic, don't miss The Towering Inferno.  You get to see a great cast of stars with two heroes, both with blue eyes.  One of the great popcorn movies.

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