Deepwater Horizon is a true disaster film to its very core. Analyzing both the human and natural disaster resulting from human greed, Deepwater Horizon does a great job presenting this, but never fully grasps the concept of human struggle in the eyes of the calamitous event that occurred that night on the Deepwater Horizon. What Berg and Wahlberg do fantastically in their depiction of this event, is display true American courage. Whats so great about Wahlberg and Berg’s frequent collaborations is their will to display the essence of America appropriately on the big screen. You place Wahlberg next to another director such as Michael Bay and all you get is Wahlberg showcasing this idealistic version of a kick-ass dad fighting alien robots as the American flag flaunts in the background, but with Berg, you get Wahlberg depicting true camaraderie and respect among his fellow workers on the Deepwater Horizon that makes each moment of horror on the Deepwater Horizon that much more frightening and elevates the moments of triumph that much more.
With that said, Deepwater Horizon is a very paint-by-numbers film that follows the exact same formula Lone Survivor did. From the moment you walk in you know everything that’s going to happen which eliminates any element of surprise the film could’ve offered. There’s also something odd about the Wahlberg and Berg collaboration that comes down to the fact that every film they do ends up feeling like a déjà vu of the last one since the all follow the same format and have Wahlberg by the same archetype in a different situation. At one point it becomes redundant to see the same person play the American hero time and time again and unless they tweak the formula a bit for Patriots Day, that will also feel the same way.
With our commonalities of the Wahlberg and Berg relationship defined, something Berg does do here is work with characters a lot more. Instead of only spending his time on Wahlberg’s Mike, Berg also established everyone who works around Mike, from the head of the Deepwater Horizon played magnificently by Kurt Russell to the guys working the pipes and valves on the lower levels such as Dylan O’Brien’s Caleb. Berg does spend an ample amount of time defining everyone who we’ll follow during the event so that when it occurs we’re equally invested in everyone’s evacuation of from the Deepwater Horizon and not just Mike.
Deepwater Horizon is another success for Berg and Wahlberg, though it might not be as rewarding as their previous efforts because it seems to borrowing a lot from them, it does depict true American courage in the face of disaster in a very cinematic vision. Because of its formula-based structure, Deepwater Horizon doesn’t break any new ground in cinema and might seem to be a bit dull because of it. Then again Deepwater Horizon understands it isn’t breaking any new ground and instead feels comfortable concentrating on the tale it has to, appropriately depicting each of the moving parts that make it up. Deepwater Horizon isn’t a marvel, but its another solid entry from a very dynamic duo.