Thursday, October 13, 2016

Deepwater Horizon Review: Biographical Disaster Film is a Thrilling Rush

The concept of movie basing themselves on true events is no stranger to the world of cinema. Not only has this concept played a role on film for years but the genre has only gained momentum as this year alone has featured several movies based on real stories; from dramas like Sully to upcoming releases such as Hacksaw Ridge. The newest film to hold this moniker is none other than Deepwater Horizon. Directed Peter Berg and based on the novel by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul, this new disaster film reflects on the 2010 incident that led to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. With a big cast and a even bigger concept this disaster film had much going for it; but could Deepwater Horizon be a film that not only did the events justice but be a must see flick for the year?

The story retells the events that led to the 2010 oil spill. Driller Mike Williams (portrayed by Mark Wahlberg) prepares for three weeks of work on the Deepwater Horizon along with fellow workers Andrea Fleytas (portrayed by Gina Rodriguez) and Jimmy “Mr.Jimmy”Harrell (portrayed by Kurt Russell). Upon their arrival, Mike and Jimmy realize that workers have been sent home thanks to BP employee Donald Vidrine (portrayed by John Malkovich) who wants speed up production so that they can make their deadline. After a questionable test in the drill’s pressure the crew proceed for a long night of work, but what they get instead is the worst oil spill in US history.

The plot to this disaster film was definitely a quick one as the story to Deepwater Horizon featured a fast paced narrative. This direction did work in the film’s favor as it made the story exciting, especially when the disaster commences. However I felt that the plot’s quick pacing also worked against the film’s execution. While the tale was exciting, there did not seem to be too much to the overall story. The main premise to the story was good but it seemed as though the plot wanted to have several vantage points to the incident like what Mike’s wife, Felicia (portrayed by Kate Hudson) trying to find out about her husband. If this was the case then I felt that Deepwater Horizon’s plot was lacking as there was not enough time to establish the other points to the story. Along with the film’s fast narrative was the themes behind the story and what caused the accident-which I found to be acceptable. While the main factor to the accident was the BP employees, the film showed that other factors played into the Deepwater Horizon’s destruction. Whether that was the case in the real events, I found this direction to worked for the story favor as it made for a reasonable direction.

As stated earlier Deepwater Horizon had a big cast and it definitely had its merits. What I found interesting about this ensemble was how casual the performances felt. The workers felt like a group who have known each other for a while, and this factor only aided in the drama’s impact when things got bad. If there was one thing issue I had with the cast was that, due to the movie’s fast pacing, there was not much time to get to know the characters. While there was enough development for the likes of Mike Williams, other characters such as Andrea and Caleb Holloway(portrayed by Dylan O’Brien) got lost in the thick of things and had a hard time standing out. Aside from that issue the cast was still effective with good performances from the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich.

If there was one thing that made Deepwater Horizon effective, it was definitely the technical direction in the film’s effects. There was a attention to detail in the effects that made the film’s setting a solid element for the movie. This was definitely apparent in the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon sequence. Using both effects and sound to the best of their abilities, the scene was tense and it certainly showcased the trauma of the true events. Other factors such as the score by Steve Jablonsky did not stand out, but it still worked to the movie’s benefit. The direction behind this disaster film was certainly effective as it did its best to capture the thrilling behind the oil spill.

There is no denying that Deepwater Horizon was an effective film. Some of the film’s issues, such as the execution of the story and characters, did take away from the overall presentation; but thankfully the likes of performances and direction were able to bring out the best of this biographical motion picture, It may not change the wheel but Deepwater Horizon was still a solid film that did its best to do bring the 2010 incident to the silver screen.

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