• by Wes Singleton

Deepwater Horizon, B

Rated PG-13, 107 minutes

The courageous, harrowing new thriller "Deepwater Horizon" is about the worst environmental disaster and oil spill in U.S. history that occurred in April, 2010. The well-crafted film is partly based on the New York Times article, though this is strictly focused on the accident itself and the heroics of the crew to survive rather than on the subsequent damage caused by it. Deepwater Horizon oil rig worker Mike Williams (Wahlberg) and his crew are drilling a well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. But the work is cut short when a worst-case explosion shakes the rig and sets it on fire, and Mike must try to save his fellow employees. Directed by Peter Berg ("Lone Survivor") and co-written by Matthew Sand and Matthew Michael Carnahan, the intense and entertaining "Deepwater Horizon" is a true story that treads familiar ground, and while it doesn't chart new territory, there's enough compelling moments to keep you on the edge of your seat. Wahlberg headlines a top-notch cast that also includes Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriguez and memorably playing a BP slimeball, John Malkovich, and you'll see some of their real-life counterparts in a touching tribute to the victims of the tragedy at the end of the film. Berg is wise to steer the ship of any tree-hugging notions and finger pointing (after all, we know who caused it), but rather on the noble acts and survival of the Deepwater Horizon's crew, a remarkable feat that anyone survived given the extensive damage, not to mention the accident's recreation is impressively staged and handled. The big-screen potency of it and its big-budget fires (the production cost for this was well over $100 million) reminded me of the 1970's disaster epics such as "The Towering Inferno" and you'll grit your teeth more than once through it, but unlike those disaster movies, which were strictly for the entertainment value, you'll leave "Horizon" with the stark, sad reminder it's a true story with real lives lost. Even more films could be made about its irreparable environmental damage, but for now "Deepwater Horizon" is a powerful enough reminder of the human damage.

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