Mark Wahlberg has another star vehicle in the true life tale “Deepwater Horizon”

Deepwater Horizon
I always like when an actor hooks up with the right filmmaker. Often, it can lead to great things. For Mark Wahlberg, teaming up with director Peter Berg a few years ago led to a fantastic film in Lone Survivor. Later this week, they pair up again for Deepwater Horizon, a movie that could well be of some note. Later on this year, they’ll be together again for a more overt awards player in Patriot’s Day, but that’s for another day. Tomorrow, we get their take on the famous oil spill tragedy, focusing on some of the heroism that went down on that day. It could be in line to become an under the radar hit, so watch out.

The film is a look at the disaster in April of 2010 on an offshore oil rig. Called the Deepwater Horizon, as you might imagine, the rig would explode and cause the worst oil spill in history. This story follows a number of the workers who would fight for survival, led by Mike Williams (Wahlberg). Other central figures there are Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell) and Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’Brien), while back at home Mike’s wife Felicia (Kate Hudson) worries. Berg directs a script from Matthew Michael Carnahan and Matthew Sand, based on a news article on the disaster. Supporting players here include John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Ethan Suplee, and more. Enrique Chediak handles the cinematography, while Steve Jablonsky contributes the score. It’s apparently a very solid thrill ride, though we obviously know how it all will go down, based on the history.

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, reviews have been solid so far for this flick. No one is going out there and calling it an Academy Award contender, necessarily, but it seems to be sturdier than expected. Part of it is probably due to how this originally was set to be a J.C. Chandor movie before Berg came aboard (I think it’s safe to say that Chandor is a very different filmmaker than Berg is). Still, for whatever reason, this is hitting with my fellow critics so far. Wahlberg apparently is perfectly cast as well, which isn’t always the case. It seems like he and Berg have a great shorthand for masculine exercises like this. They know the secret sauce and it comes out on screen.

If you’re thinking about awards, it’s probably a long shot. Still, if the box office is especially healthy, an effect could be made. In that world, campaigns might be launched in Best Picture, Best Director (for Berg), Best Actor (for Wahlberg), Best Supporting Actor (for Russell), Best Supporting Actress (for Hudson or Rodriguez), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Carnahan and Sand), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Visual Effects. Outside of the technical categories, this seems like long shots all around, so don’t be surprised if there’s a shut out for this one. Even with the techs, it’ll be an uphill battle for sure.

Come this weekend, Deepwater Horizon hits screens nationwide and looks set to be a potentially big surprise hit. Wahlberg is almost always a box office draw, especially in things like this, while his last collaboration with Berg led to a healthy cume. Patriot’s Day could be more of the same, but for now, we’re focused on this particular one. That upcoming one is likely the bigger awards vehicle, but this should play well in theaters across America. If you like dramatized versions of recent disasters like this, you’ll probably enjoy the flick. Give it a shot and see what you think…

Be sure to check out Deepwater Horizon, in theaters everywhere this Friday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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