Thursday 29 September 2016

Deepwater Horizon ... Blown out of the water

DIRECTOR Peter Berg's Deepwater Horizon is a commonplace disaster film with the requisite
rescue scenes and inevitable moments of courage by the hero. He sets up the hero's familial background and actually does a pretty good job using the hero's 10-year-old daughter's project to explain the workings of an oil rig. A Coca-Cola can never got better product placement than in this scene.
   The film, based on the true events of the worst oil spill in US history in April 2010, goes behind the scenes to show how BP brought pressure on the rig's boss to get the rig started. Money is the main culprit, says the film.

  Most of the film's money went into showing the huge explosion that ripped apart the rig. Viewers can only hold on to their seats when they witness Berg's competence in showing the confusion that reigned in the aftermath of the explosion.
   His technical skills are top-notch, but he flounders in showing something different than from what viewers are inundated with in other disaster films.
  His hero, electrician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg), is the ultimate family guy. In the three-week break at home, he tickles his wife's fancy and provides input into his daughter's project, promising to get her a dinosaur bone from the site of his rig. He's obviously good at fixing things around the house as he is with fixing his wife Felicia's (Kate Hudson) sexual desires.
   Felicia plays a similar role to the wife in Sully. When a problem happens, both display worried
Mark Wahlberg actually has a paunch in
'Deepwater Horizon'.
expressions. However, Felicia has an advantage in that she gets to show off her sexy black underwear in bed.
   On the rig in the Gulf of Mexico, there's the usual banter between the workers, with Mike offering advice on fixing a Mustang car to Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez). Why this scene is given prominence will be seen at the end.
   BP supervisors Robert Kaluza (Brad Leland) and Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) are shown exerting pressure on Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), the top drilling official on the Deepwater Horizon rig and working for the rig's owner, Transocean.
  This debate is at the heart of the film, and even if viewers may not grasp everything that transpires, they will understand that Harrell is concerned about the safety of the people on the rig and that he's adamant about conducting tests to determine the rig's integrity.
   BP's two mid-level employees are more concerned about getting the rig to start drilling after a 43-day hiatus. Vidrine reminds us that BP's a $186 billion company, and he mocks a Transocean worker's
Men in red. 
masculinity in holding off the drilling.
   The scenes of the explosion and the close-ups of the ocean bed are well done. Flying debris, gushing oil and explosions ripping apart the rig come easy for Berg.
  But the film lacks an emotional heart. Viewers may empathise with Williams, and even though his familial scenes are meant to provide him with gravitas, I doubt if viewers will truly root for him. I even found his "heroic" event at the end unimaginable.

2 out of 5 stars


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