PG-13. Perhaps another scathing example of how America is very cool with violence, scary things, and people getting hurt.
DIRECTOR: Peter Berg
I know someone's written it. It has to be somewhere on the Internet. Someone has to have written about how trailers completely miss the point of the movie to sell it to an audience that wouldn't see it while alienating an audience that would really get into it. I feel kind of dumb when it comes to my knowledge of current events because I had no idea that the title "Deepwater Horizon" referred to the BP oil spill. The movie is marketed as a boss, broey, survival film like Peter Berg's Lone Survivor. I've already mentioned how I tend to see these movies, but don't really preach them ultra hard. Had I known that this was a commentary about the greed of BP set against the backdrop of stuff blowing up and real people getting hurt, I might have fallen in line a little sooner. (i acknowledge the fact that the trailer probably said, "Based on a True Story", but so does Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So I roll my eyes pretty hard when I read that.)
The weird part about my reaction to it all is that the movie really hits two buttons simultaneously. The movie, for what defense I gave it, is very broey. Stuff explodes real good in this movie. When I get engulfed in this movie and shut off my soul (because all I can think of now are the real people involved in the accident), the movie is fantastically entertaining. But the social content really gets to me as well. BP execs were horrible scumbags and I can't believe that I'm so stilted that I still gas up there from time-to-time. I'm more of a hypocrite than I'm comfortable with. This is my own cross to bear. This isn't on you. But the movie really does a phenomenal job of painting the BP execs as rich jerks who shortcut basic safety protocols. Whether this is true or not, who knows? But I come from an era when "industrialist" was synonymous with "bad guy." So let's keep that train rolling and make our movie easily identifiable.
I always have a hard time determining whether Mark Wahlberg is the best actor or the worst actor. I can't reconcile his performance in The Happening. If you haven't seen it, don't. Man, that movie is something. But I do recommend you find a clip on YouTube of Mark Wahlberg from The Happening. That is something on a new level of terrible. But this is also the same guy who stole the show in The Departed. Perhaps it is the character actor role that lets him get good. Deepwater Horizon allows us to see the rare occasion when Mark Wahlberg plays a regular dude who is fairly convincing. He's loaded with oil rigging jargon and light ribbing constantly, which may cover up any real vulnerability. But his character is likable. Like, really likable. I want to be friends with that dude, if only for the fact that if my house blew up, he'd pick me up regardless of my level of concussion. For a drama that serves as a political and social reminder about the evils of BP and major corporations, it is weird that the protagonist is really just an action movie star. He has action movie star traits. I thank Peter Berg and the rest of the production team for avoiding any ridiculous puns regarding exploding oil rigs because the movie carries its seriousness on its shoulders. The movie is actiony, but don't you dare goof around with it.
This is a short little shout out and i haven't thought where I'm going with it, but I really liked Malkovich in this role. Yeah, he's an arch villain with levels of jerkery that I have rarely witnessed in reality, but the movie needed him to be that cocky. The crazy part is that he isn't stupid. He's the guy who is super educated, but you need to see get his come-uppins. In reality, it should be characters like Mister Jimmy who don't know what they are talking about. I guess the movie does crap on academics a bit, but that's cool. Again, I'm not cool with my own hypocrisy. I also want someone to start calling me "Mister Jimmy." Would it be "Mr. Timmy"? Nah, I don't like it anymore. "Mr. H" is fine.
The more I think about it, the goofier this movie really is. There are some really weird choices by some of the characters that felt really Hollywood-y to me. Not shutting down the derrick or the pipeline until an exec gave the go ahead? That seems like no one would be fighting that battle super hard. But this movie had that scene. I truly believe that my low expectations really made this movie a fun sell. Also, I watched this one on my own. Had I been worrying about what my wife thought of the movie, I might be raking it through the mud. Environment definitely affects my approach to cinema. This was a great Tuesday evening movie by myself and I enjoyed the living daylights out of it. Yeah, it bums me out that these were real people, but I also applaud that the story was more than popcorn action-ey nonsense. The movie touched on something important and I liked that. Also, I think we needed a reminder that what happened that day was awful. We have, as a culture, such a short memory to distaster nowadays that a reminder doesn't hurt. But I'm probably still going to fill up at BP. That's mostly because I'm a bad person the clerks at mine are really friendly.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.