Film review: Deepwater Horizon (12A)

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SHOWCASE CINEMAS PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW

CAST: MARK WAHLBERG, KURT RUSSELL, JOHN MALKOVICH, GINA RODRIGUEZ, DYLAN O’BRIEN, KATE HUDSON, JAMES DuMONT, BRAD LELAND, DAVID MALDONADO, ETHAN SUPLEE, DOUGLAS M GRIFFIN, JD EVERMORE & PETER BERG.

RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 47 MINS

DIRECTOR: ANTOINE FUQUA

Gavin’s rating: 3.5/5

This action-thriller falls into that awkward zone of trying to tell a ‘story based on true events’ – but never quite gets the balance right to hit that movie-going ‘sweet spot’.

Mark Wahlberg once again joins forces with Lone Survivor director Peter Berg to tell another biographical story – this time based on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster that cost lives and British Petroleum millions in damages.

The first hour of the film is caught between a ‘rock and a hard place’ as it sets up the story through some rig employees, Chief Electronics Technician Mike Williams (Wahlberg), Dynamic Positioning Operator Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez), Drill Crew Floor hand Caleb Holloway (The Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien) and Offshore Installation Manager ‘Sir’ Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), as Harrell quizzes BP staff (including John Malkovich’s Donald Vidrine) over whether the quick ‘cement’ job has been tested so drilling can commence on the platform situated off the Louisiana coastline.

But it soon becomes clear that the hastily cobbled together ocean floor ‘tarmacing’ hasn’t worked and the methodical build-up to the forthcoming harrowing situation slowly unfolds.

And while the intro – which includes a constant collaboration between Williams and his wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) that fluctuates between being sweet and tedious – does give the cinema-goer a chance for a background on the impending disaster, this prevents the film from ever getting its ‘flow on’ before the real horrific events hit.

And that they do with some aplomb – complete with some impressive special effects that skilfully re-enact the real-life explosion on the rig – and it plays out as expected with the inevitable ‘lump in throat’ moments come the film’s close.

It is definitely one of those movie’s that will polarise audiences, resonating with some as it sticks close to the source material, but not quite offering enough to truly empathise with the characters portrayed, however awful their unravelling situation is.

So while ‘Horizon’ doesn’t quite go ‘deep’ enough – and won’t linger in the memory for too long after you leave the cinema – it does just enough on the surface to make it float.