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Deepwater Horizon Movie Review

Deepwater Horizon Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art
Deepwater Horizon is now available on home video. Read our review of the Blu-ray + DVD combo.

Deepwater Horizon (2016) movie poster Deepwater Horizon

Theatrical Release: September 30, 2016 / Running Time: 107 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Peter Berg / Writers: Matthew Sand (screenplay & screen story); Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay); David Rohde, Stephanie Saul (article)

Cast: Mark Wahlberg (Mike Williams), Kurt Russell (Jimmy Harrell), John Malkovich (Donald Vidrine), Gina Rodriguez (Andrea Fleytas), Dylan O'Brien (Caleb Holloway), Kate Hudson (Felicia Williams), Brad Leland (Robert Kaluza), Ethan Suplee (Jason Anderson), J.D. Evermore (Dewey Revette), Stella Allen (Sydney Williams)

Buy Deepwater Horizon from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD Instant Video

Three years after giving us Lone Survivor,
director Peter Berg and actor-producer Mark Wahlberg reunite to tell another tale of modern heroism in the face of great danger. Deepwater Horizon presents the widely-covered 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the form of a disaster movie.

We get acclimated with a few of the hundreds of men and women working aboard the titular vessel, an offshore oil drilling rig. Chief among them is Mike Williams (Wahlberg), a dutiful man with a loving wife (Kate Hudson) and adoring 10-year-old daughter (Stella Allen). The lines of sympathy are clearly drawn on the Deepwater Horizon. There are good, honest, hard-working working class types like Mike and beloved installation manager Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell). Men like these get dirty regularly and worry about the safety of their machinery and the tests that should be followed.

A handlebar-mustachioed Kurt Russell plays Deepwater Horizon's beloved installation manager Jimmy Harrell.

On the other side are the suits, higher-ups who actually wear buttoned-down dress shirts emblazoned with the BP logo. The face of this class is Donald Vidrine (a scenery-chewing John Malkovich), who uses his Cajun accent to talk down to everyone, his mind always on the bottom line. Vidrine insists to pay little thought to a test that shows a good amount of pressure but is not backed up by visible mud spills.

Of course, even if you didn't follow the story much, you know what happens. The oil rig endures a spill. Oil spurts everywhere and the Deepwater Horizon goes up in flames. Everyone aboard is in some serious danger. Jimmy gets blown out of the shower, with shards of glass embedded deep in his foot. (As in Lone Survivor, Berg doesn't shy from bloody images and exposed bone, which is evidently allowed by the increasingly lenient PG-13 rating.) Mike tries to keep a cool head as he talks a car-restoring colleague (Gina Rodriguez) into climbing higher and jumping further to avoid the massive flames that are in the water around them.

Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) tries to keep cool while all Hell breaks loose around him in "Deepwater Horizon."

There is a lot of yelling and running amidst gushes of oils and bursts of flames. It's a spectacle of Hellish chaos and it's one that Berg (a longtime actor whose other directing credits include Hancock,
Battleship, and Friday Night Lights) has no difficulty presenting in a way that's absorbing and relatively easy to follow. Deepwater Horizon feels a lot like last year's Everest, a middlebrow disaster movie with emotional resonance and some powerful IMAX imagery. Even viewed on a standard movie screen, Deepwater has significant sensory impact.

Berg and Wahlberg have another like-minded movie right around the corner in Patriots Day, a drama about the Boston Marathon bombing that will open in limited release before Christmas and expand wide in January. That film may make a play for at least the technical award nominations that Lone Survivor drew. Deepwater Horizon, on the other hand, should have commercial prospects, judging from the way it was warmly received by the packed house at my two-weeks-early screening.

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Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Now in Theaters: The Magnificent Seven Sully Queen of Katwe Snowden Hell or High Water War Dogs
Directed by Peter Berg: Lone Survivor Hancock Battleship
Mark Wahlberg: The Fighter Transformers: Age of Extinction Daddy's Home Invincible The Gambler Shooter The Other Guys
Kurt Russell: The Hateful Eight Bone Tomahawk Tombstone Vanilla Sky
John Malkovich: Being John Malkovich Secretariat The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Everest Armageddon Captain Phillips Titanic The 33 The Finest Hours

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Reviewed September 30, 2016.

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