Deepwater Horizon, Peter Berg‘s film about the 2010 BP oil spill, is premiering in theaters this weekend to largely positive reviews.

Deepwater Horizon stars Mark Wahlberg as chief electronics technician Mike Williams on the Deepwater Horizon BP oil rig. As a result of risky shortcuts, the rig had a blowout in 2010 that resulted in the deaths of 11 people. It also caused more than 3 million barrels of oil to be released into the Gulf of Mexico, making it one of the biggest ecological disasters in the history of the United States. Kurt Russell, Dylan O’Brien, Gina Rodriguez and John Malkovich also star.

Deepwater Horizon Reviews

Although Berg’s Deepwater Horizon recreates a true-life fatal tragedy, most critics agree that the film is profoundly entertaining. The film deals less with BP’s deplorable business practices and more with the human experience of being on board the rig. While there were nearly a dozen deaths, there was also the heroics of men like Williams’ who saved a number of lives. Those less enthused by the film found Berg’s direction ineffective at capturing the enormity of the event.

“Peter Berg’s “Deepwater Horizon” is this year’s ultimate guilty pleasure at the movies. This $156 million action film about a real-life 2010 blowout on an oil rig that killed 11 people and unleashed what many have called the biggest ecological disaster in US history is, frankly, vastly more fun than it has any right to be. The writer-director of “Friday Night Lights” and “Lone Survivor” does a minimum of finger-pointing at the corporate greed of British Petroleum.[…] Instead, what we’ve got is a highly entertaining nautical version of The Towering Inferno.” – Lou Lumenick, New York Post

“Deepwater Horizon” is a visceral and at times overpowering experience. Working from a screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan (“The Kingdom”) and Matthew Sand, director Peter Berg (“Lone Survivor”) vividly evokes the chaos of the situation while keeping a strong focus on the human dimension. This is very much an ensemble film, with Wahlberg, Hudson and Russell turning in performances that get the job done without begging for attention. “Deepwater Horizon” is a tribute to heroism and a warning against corporate greed.” – Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“We’re often left wondering what exactly is exploding and why it’s exploding. We see lots of action, but the handheld camera, quick cutting and reliance on close-ups make it difficult to see how the action relates to the overall picture. And action divorced from context, in which it’s often not clear what is happening or whom it’s happening to, isn’t exciting or meaningful. It’s just commotion. […] Berg’s whole strategy may have been to throw us deep into the action, but the irony is, he ends up creating distance. He keeps us on the outside.” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

“What works almost disturbingly well is the way Berg calibrates his delivery of the disaster while still holding on to the human scale of it. Alternating between the visceral jolt of experiencing the destruction firsthand and a God’s-eye view of its root cause and effect, he brings a man-made tragedy into fiery focus — and reminds us why it deserves more than corporate fines and a few fading headlines.” – Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

Deepwater Horizon is currently in wide release.

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