Deepwater Horizon

Checked out a Thursday showing of the new disaster movie Deepwater Horizon starring Mark Whalberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, and evil John Malkovich. This is the story of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded in 2010, killing a number of the crew, and causing the worst oil spin in US history.
This is a technical masterpiece and it looks amazing. There’s nothing that can be said against how it looks, the depiction of the rig, and the quality of the acting. I’m sure an actual oil worker might spot the technical flaws but I certain didn’t. If they weren’t filming on an actual rig, I’d be shocked they got the FX looking so good.
That said, this is a good movie but it straddles an uncomfortable line between a realistic true-to-life retelling of the events and a big stereotypical Hollywood disaster flick. The movie is being too technical about the oil rig operations and the nature of the safety testing to be a dumb action movie. But the movie also has a Snidely Whiplash villain in Malkovich and also some Hollywood-style escapes. Maybe the BP guy Malkovich was playing was on the rig and maybe he did have dramatic staredowns with other survivors and maybe some characters did survive the injuries and escapes depicted… but I doubt it. And that’s a problem for a movie trying to be realistic.
I’m sure I’m over-analyzing it (shocker, I know) because the movie is otherwise pretty good. I was just pulled out of it a bit so that I wasn’t nearly as engaged in the chaos and destruction and acts of survival depicted. If you are likely to just go in and experience it, I’m sure you’ll love it. Me? I liked it. It was solid.
As an aside, I’ve seen people saying BP gets off easy in this movie and I disagree. The movie is more focused on the oil rig workers and some of their heroics but there’s plenty of BP villains and enough fingers to point at them.
As another aside, you do learn a fair amount about the rig (which isn’t really a rig since it’s a mobile platform – a ship… it isn’t moored to the seafloor… I didn’t realize that) and the source of the failure. Nothing more than you might not have known if you’d watched the news and read the article it’s based on. So kudos to that.
Score: 80

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