“For the love of money, people will lie, people will cheat. For the love of money, people don’t care who they hurt or beat.” When companies and corporations put all their value in profits over people, we often find ourselves with situations that result in DEEPWATER HORIZON. This film is based on the true story about an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, its explosion and destruction, and one of the greatest man-made disasters in history. “Deepwater Horizon” explores the lives and bravery of the people who lived and survived this massive incident.
As a movie, “Deepwater Horizon” does a great job at building suspense with nervous anticipation, and providing exciting action without losing focus upon tragic events. The film showers the viewer with accruing themes like greed, company & governmental compliance, and nurturing and protecting relationships – all while developing a pragmatic narrative framed by fine acting performances that make you forget this isn’t a fabricated story… this really happened!
Over the years, director Peter Berg has done a great job at taking material, fantasy or biographical, and discovering the heart of the story, laying out a comprehensive anecdote for the viewer. With such films as “Hancock”, “Friday Night Lights,” “The Rundown” and “Lone Survivor,” Berg has carved out a niche in today’s movie landscape that is highly touted and grounded in realism. Being an actor himself probably aides in pulling out the best performances from his talent, and “Deepwater Horizon” follows that tradition.
Sometimes I forget just how great an actor John Malkovich is, until I see him in a role that requires him to be more than just a character actor. In “Deepwater Horizon,” he is the villain, fallen to the root of all evil – the love of money. Malkovich draws you slowly into hating his character while understanding his motives. His ‘one on one’ meeting/battle with the hero (Wahlberg) is truly fulfilling and rewarding while not over acting within the scene.
Our hero is played by Mark Wahlberg who has gotten used to that type of role – Transformers, Shooter, Italian Job, etc. – but even his courage is over shadowed by the story and the action, which are the true stars of the film. When you add in Kurt Russell as the Senior Official, he is just one of those actors that deepens the gravitas of a film, it grounds the story even more.
We must remember that this oil rig disaster really happened, lives were lost, communities changed and the film doesn’t let you forget that by over-hyping movie stars, or with an over-reliance of special effects and action set pieces because, at its core, “Deepwater Horizon” is a movie about people.
And the movie doesn’t fall prey to locking its focus upon the secondary plot surrounding the wife of Wahlberg, played by Kate Hudson, and his family. Peter Berg could have easily tried to tell a love story and the subsequent fallout resulting from such a tragedy but that would take the focus off of the real story – greed and its collateral damage, heroism and survival.
In the end, “Deepwater Horizon” is a very good action movie, based on real life events, which gives us a glimpse into the bravery and actions of people forced to fight dire consequences. It’s a tale woven together by a good storyteller, with excellent acting performances that win over the audience. “Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money rule you. For the love of money, money can change people sometimes. Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money change you.”
Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. In addition to his popular comic book movie reviews, you can check out his reviews of The Magnificent Seven and Jason Bourne right here on MMT.