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Movie Review: Deepwater Horizon is light on entertainment

Actor Mark Wahlberg in Deepwater Horizon Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment Actor Mark Wahlberg in Deepwater Horizon

Based on the true events occurring on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, the story chronicles those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon and their extreme efforts to survive the largest man-made disasters in world history.

Deepwater Horizon is a very typical Hollywood attempt at making a blockbuster. The film opens with Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) and his cute blond wife, and their adorable daughter. Viewers are supposed to develop an emotional connection and root for Mike as he encounters the disaster later in the film. The film is too cliché and too surgical to be effective. It gets a Rent It rating.

Deepwater Horizon is laden with oil drilling jargon. It's as if they are speaking a foreign language. Much of my understanding of what was going on came from what I already knew from the original story.

However, there is no denying the film's powerful recreation of the colossal and at times overwhelming visual impact of the natural gas powered inferno that ravaged the platform, crew and ultimately miles of the surrounding Gulf of Mexico. Deepwater Horizon reflects the fact that the bar for Hollywood special effects continues to rise.

At the same time, the industry ignores a basic tenet when creating scenes: fire creates heat! This film like others before it has characters running through blazing gauntlets. Fire is not like water. If water doesn't touch you, you don't get wet. But even without direct contact, fire burns.

The movie gets a "B" for cast diversity. Gina Rodriguez has a major role as Andrea Fleytas, the Latina who in real life, coordinated rescue efforts on the rig. There were also some men of color in background scenes.

Deepwater Horizon is rated PG-13, for prolonged intense disaster sequences, related disturbing images and brief strong language and is 99 minutes in length. Wait and rent this one.