Deepwater Horizon is a movie that blows shit up real good. It shouldn’t come as a surprise being that Berg’s Lone Survivor has some of the most punishing action I’ve seen in an American movie this decade. He continues that film’s penchant for physicality here by actually building an almost full-size working replica of the oil rig before sending it up in flames. Basically, Berg went full-on James Cameron.
Now I appreciate commitment like that in mainstream movies and it goes a long way to make the action really pack a wallop. There’s a good 50% of the runtime spent introducing us to the characters and the rig with lots of techno-jargon for dialogue but it’s necessary to let the starry cast disappear into the environment. Of-course you never forget you’re watching Mark Wahlberg or Kurt Russell but you do believe in them in these roles which is important. Finally, when shit hits the fan and the big rig goes boom you won’t be disappointed.
With the all-encompassing blaze and torrent of smoke, the Deepwater Horizon is essentially transformed into the seventh circle of hell. At every turn our characters face new catastrophes, both micro and macro and if there was ever a film in 2016 to make you flinch and go “ouch”, it’s this one. The flame-swathed imagery is stunning and a good handful of frames had me swooning for their compositional beauty. The stuff at either side of the disaster is less inspired, and even some of the character beats within the chaos are mined from a genre well-trodden but this big stuff, the stuff that counts, really delivers. If you’ve got an impressive home theatre and want to push it to the limits, fire up this film from the first spark and take in Berg’s firey leviathan. I dug it.