• Review: Deepwater Horizon (2016)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Mon Oct 3 23:06:46 2016
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    **1/2 (out of ****)

    "She's gonna blow!"
    Marky Mark and a *very* funky bunch--Snake "call me Snake" Plissken,
    Jane the Virgin, and Being John Malkovich as a corporate corner cutter
    heavy on the gumbo, I garontee--attempt to smother that mother of all
    man-made ecological disasters, the Deepwater Horizon, in... "Deepwater Horizon." All that's missing from this fraught explode-a-thon is
    "Norristown's own" Maria Bello as Marky's missus. This time out that
    dubious honor befalls Kate Hudson, who displays convincing concern, but
    isn't quite the missus material we've come to love from old pro Bello.
    If the name sounds familiar--Deepwater Horizon, not Bello or
    Hudson--it's because this thing really happened. April 2010, remember?
    That oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that exploded and sank? The one that spilled over 200 million gallons of crude into the gulf for three months straight before they eventually put a lid on it?
    It was not cool, people, not a pretty sight. Eleven people died that
    day. Yet Hollywood somehow decided to turn this colossal personal and eco-tragedy into a raving action flick starring Mark Wahlberg and Kurt
    Sure, they honor the dead in an end-credits gallery (insensitive not
    to) and British Petroleum--who eventually agreed to cough up a record $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties--don't look too good. But what they--director Peter Berg and screenwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand--really seem to care about is capital-S Spectacle and there's plenty of that to go around.. "Deepwater Horizon"'s all about the night in question, not the 87-day aftermath and its endless human and ecological repercussions, because explosions make energetic cinema that sells tickets
    and oil slicks do not.
    Walhberg, Russell, Malkovich, and Gina Rodriguez as the rig's
    navigator turn in credible performances. Unfortunately, beyond the marquee names the workers on the rig are underwritten and mostly indistinguishable.
    Is it tacky, disrespectful, to craft an entertainment based on a true event in which people lost their lives? Berg and Wahlberg seem to think not--they're already readying "Patriot's Day," about the 2013 Boston
    Marathon bombings, for a December release.
    "Deepwater Horizon" doesn't blow. It's competently made, noisy, and intense. But it's not a pretty picture.

    David N. Butterworth

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