Deepwater Horizon is a disaster movie based on true events. It is about an offshore drilling rig where things took the turn for the worst, resulting in the largest oil disaster in USA's history. I'm an avid disaster movie fan, and while you do get fictional ones every now and then, getting a well-executed one based on a true story is almost non-existent. Hence, I was very contented when the movie was over.
Peter Berg, just like with Lone Survivor, returns to direct with Mark Wahlberg as the lead in another based-on-a-true-story movie. And in a similar fashion, the movie spends a hefty amount of time on the first act, setting up the characters and location etc, leading up to the climactic release. The screen-time was distributed properly, no one character hogged all the time and apart from the setup, no focus to lovey-dovey stuff was given, all of which contributed to a solid first act.
The acting was good all around. Mark Wahlberg did a good job (great at times) as this average joe worker on Deepwater. He is accompanied by Kurt Russel, who's the boss and it was great to see him in a good role. You also get John Malkovich as this cancerous and greedy BP exec, who did a fine job in making you not like him and be the temp villain of sorts. The movie does a good enough job of making these people feel real, so that you get invested more to what's about to come.
After the setup and first act, the disaster itself was handled masterfully, building upon the first act, winding up tension and expectation, and releasing it at just the right time to give the maximum feeling of shock and awe. And the movie does this like 2-3 times, not just once, so you are pretty much sitting on the edge of your couch, shivering with thrill and tension during most of the second act. Seriously, when shit hits the fan, the movie is just non-stop adrenaline pumping thrill ride till the near end, and I LOVED IT!
Of course, the enjoyment of the disaster scenes would have been nothing without the excellent technical aspects of the film. The CGI and special effects were all top notch. The sound design was precise and detailed with proper LFE (Bass) punches, and to top everything off, the soundtrack itself was fittingly chosen; calm and peaceful during quieter moments, and an absolutely unrelenting pump for excitement and tension when the movie is about to reach one of its climaxes.
Regarding flaws, well, there were a couple of scenes during the disaster which felt out of place and had a heavy handed approach, felt like unnecessary embellishment for making it more of a movie, 'Hollywoodizing' if you will. That, and the first act being a bit too long are my only real complaints about this movie.
Overall, an absolute ripper of a film when it comes disaster sequences, I was indeed very happy when the movie was over. It not only shows the scale of the disaster and how horrific it was but also entertains you to a great deal with its amazing disaster sequences. Definitely, a must watch.