“Deepwater” depicts true tragedy

By: Matt McDonald, Columnist

Mark Wahlberg stars in the new disaster movie “Deepwater Horizon,” which depicts the tragedy of an oil rig exploding in the middle of the ocean. While it is short and fast-paced, it certainly does not hold back.

“Deepwater Horizon,” co-starring Kurt Russell, John Malkovich and Dylan O’Brien, portrays the events of April 20, 2010, when BP worker Don Vidrine (Malovich) gives orders to start drilling for oil despite obvious structural flaws. Under too much pressure, the whole rig bursts with mud, eventually leading to even more brutal consequences.

This is yet another movie where, even though the audience knows exactly what is going to happen, it is still shocking — and at some points downright cringeworthy — to witness. There are a myriad of moments in this movie that made me look away or tense up purely because of the extreme realism in the injuries and explosions in general. Its use of close-ups makes it uncomfortable at times and almost suffocating at others. The movie has no boundaries in what it will show or imply, and that makes it all the better.

The movie did not seem to have too much of a complete story — it was mostly just a continuation of explosions and falling debris — but like I mentioned in my review of “Sully,” it is a true story and so is not as accountable. It does, however, allow you to focus on characterization more, and I would say the characters in this movie are middle of the road. They are not flat, but their depth is either generic, like a “family man” trope, or thrown at us very quickly at the beginning. Some of the general crew members were much more interesting than the main characters. That being said, the performances were very well done, especially the always-acclaimed John Malkovich.

“Deepwater Horizon” got an 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is a very edge-of-your-seat movie. I would recommend seeing it, but expect some long downtime scenes that quickly shift into full-on action and tragedy and prepare for the unsettling realism they have to offer. 3/4.   

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