Peter Berg is a fairly streaky director. He’s had some pretty bad films (both Hancock and Battleship) come to mind but then again Lone Survivor was not bad and had some gripping action. I think Berg is in a place where he trusts an actor and trusts the formula of bringing a real life event to the screen. That’s basically where Mark Wahlberg and his past, present and future film is (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and Patriots Day). As mentioned earlier Lone Survivor’s depiction of war and the action based cinematography kept your eyes glued to the screen, so how would the followup film stack up?
The trailers for the film were not interesting. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill and explosion was obviously a disaster and a sad event but was it worth a film? The build to the events of the disaster are slow. You sit through a lot of the jargon of the oil drilling world. I’d say its easy to lose interest in the first third of the film, especially if you don’t get invested in the film’s characters. You also have to sit through some bad accents (which is a pet peeve of mine). The films got a fairly good cast to boot and for the most part there are no faults acting wise. Gina Rodriguez was convincing, I haven’t seen anything with her previously but she delivered. I also liked Kate Hudson in the small doses of the film that she appears in. She seemed like a raw character who was genuinely afflicted with her husbands situation and the up in the air nature of his safety really showed through in the emotion of her character.
I’m a fan of Mark Wahlberg. He doesn’t always choose the best projects but he might be on to something co-oping with Peter Berg for a few films. You won’t complain about Wahlberg being the hero here. Once the disaster occurs the pace picks up which is a good and bad thing. I’d say the first act was not very engaging and sort of set the tone for the rest of the film. The action depiction is great. There are moments of it that will captivate you and depending on who you are you will be moved with the raw emotionality depicted in the film. Be warned though, that the event is prolonged so there’s not much else going on outside of the event. I saw a lot of similar camerawork from Berg in this and Lone Survivor. The camera at times seems to be a spectator just set as a fly on the wall for the events. The camerawork also becomes frenetic and pacy, which adds to the atmosphere set by the very scary and unpredictable event.
Once the disaster occurs and the film really starts rolling, there is decent satisfaction. I thought this film was better than I hoped, which is really much better than my expectations going in. However, its not a perfect film and can’t stay wholly engaging. Worth a watch for the peeps who like Berg/Wahlberg or are fascinated by the event. Otherwise, your response to this film may (much like mine) be rather indifferent.