Recounting the BP Oil Spill disaster of 2010 that was both a human and environmental tragedy, Deepwater Horizon spends a good deal of its running time concentrating on the competence of those workers on the enormous rig. Peter Berg’s dramatization of the events off the Southern coast of Louisiana finds Mark Wahlberg’s engineer Mike and Kurt Russell’s supervisor Jimmy trying their best at their positions while dealing with cost cutting corporate elements. It’s something many in the audience are likely to relate to and the pic coasts for a bit on simply being a story about people working.
Yet it’s the elements that arrive later during that massive explosion that give Deepwater its disaster flick cred. Had this not been a true story, I’m not so certain the visual spectacle that pervades the third act would’ve been as meaningful. The action sequences are well rendered if not particularly anything new from a run of the mill summer blockbuster.
We get to know more than just Mike and Jimmy. There’s John Malkovich’s BP “company man”. He’s the guy cutting corners and the actor himself is given a pretty decent monologue about it. There’s Kate Hudson as Wahlberg’s wife, watching the drama unfold from afar and Gina Rodriguez as a fellow crew member.
Horizon also features a lot of technical jargon that those without an engineering degree or knowledge of the industry could be lost with. It doesn’t really matter. The script does a perfectly serviceable if unspectacular job letting us meet some people whose everyday occupations put them in previously unseen peril.
*** (out of four)