Monday, 3 October 2016

REVIEW - DEEPWATER HORIZON (PETER BERG)


You can always trust a Republican to miss the point entirely, and wilfully so. Yes, I'm getting political, because the story of the Deepwater Horizon disaster was political, whether these filmmakers acknowledge that or not. Their ploy to rope in the average American viewer (and these days, we know all too well what that means) involves the usual negligible concessions to inclusion and positive representation, largely smothered by a blinkered celebration of egotistical, heterosexual, white American machismo. Amid the bluster of Deepwater Horizon, albeit excellently staged, Peter Berg intentionally loses sight of the bigger picture, whilst ensuring to insert certain details that infer that he's not entirely ignorant of the value of context. In pursuit of this skewed slant on reality, Berg's film emphasizes select points, those particularly attractive to his target demographic: mistrust of authority, the dignity of hard work dutifully done, virtues such as loyalty, bravery and compassion. It's respectable stuff, yet coated in a typically self-aggrandizing sheen of standard christian American self-satisfaction, and all the technical brilliance that $156 million can get you can't yet redeem such damning flaws. Berg displays great flair in wielding this brilliance, putting it to smart effect in tense dramatic and thrilling action-esque sequences both; all that money was put to surprisingly solid use, as evidenced in Deepwater Horizon's sensible design, stressing a leanness of style throughout, accentuated by verisimilar craft. By the workers, and for the workers, Deepwater Horizon somehow still manages to rank as among the most conservative studio pictures of the year.