Lone Survivor director Peter Berg's big screen dramatization of the eponymous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast, Deepwater Horizon, is an effective, harrowing film with a talented cast that wastes little time and reinforces the carelessness surrounding the human disaster that took eleven lives.
Mark Wahlberg (also a producer) stars as electrician Mike Williams arriving for his three-week tour in an understated heroic yet everyman role. Kate Hudson, in a small but effective part, plays Mike's wife Felicia and provide stakes to the chaos soon to follow. Kurt Russell (and his glorious moustache) as Mr. Jimmy is suitably take charge as the noble and wise leader of the oil while John Malkovich chews the scenery, hamming it up, as the comically evil BP official. Gina Rodriguez and Dylan O'Brien round out the intimate cast of poor souls desperate to escape the intensifying oil fire.
Berg along with co-writers Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand balance the drama and intricate action fairly well while never over-explaining what went wrong basing their story on The New York Times article, "Deepwater Horizon's Final Hours". The editing, narrative geography, and dramatic balance anchor the film's troubling subject matter admirably compacting the narrative into a 107-minute film effectively.
Deepwater Horizon delivers and works best at making the viewer angry. No doubt the action-oriented dramatization of the real-life drama and disaster uses narrative filmmaking to make the story more fluid, but it remains authentic feeling to the disaster while giving it a more direct human context and point of view. The destruction is beautifully filmed while Berg pulls the emotional drama by the end in a rousing fashion. His sharp eye makes narrative and human sense of the chaotic situations and fiery violence.
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