Deepwater Horizon depicts the events of April 2010 when a deep sea drilling platform in the Gulf Of Mexico exploded, causing the biggest oil disaster in American history.
Following the usual formula of the disaster movie, the first half of the film is the usual combination of scene-setting exposition, soapy family life and manly men bantering during the calm before the storm. This is all done efficiently enough but never quite shakes off the “TV movie of the week” vibe that often taints a true life story of this type. But director Peter Berg shifts gears almost instantly, making the second half an assault on the senses that effectively portrays the chaos and terror that a news report can never truly convey. The accident itself is an extremely tense race against time to save the lives of the crew marked by some remarkable acts of personal bravery and stars Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russel make for a pair of believable every men who courageously yet pragmatically deal with the terrifying events as best they can. Less convincing is John Malkovich whose goggle-eyed performance and bizarre accent skirted a little too close to Jar Jar Binks territory; I also felt it a little too convenient to lay the blame at the door at this one individual rather than exploring the culture of corporate greed that puts profit before the safety of employees and the environment in general.
A little lacking in the aforementioned context but Deepwater Horizon is a solid disaster movie that is bolstered by the fact that these were real life events and ends on a fitting eulogy to those who lost their lives.