Tag Archives: Kurt Russell

Deepwater Horizon (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier ‬

DEEPWATER HORIZON

Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay by), Matthew Sand (screenplay by)
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, Douglas M. Griffin

‪Plot:  A dramatisation of the disaster back in April 2010, when the offshore drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon created a giant explosion, which created the worst oil spill in American history.‬
‪Running Time: 1 hour 47 minutes‬
‪Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics  83%   Audience: 82%‬

‪Why I watched it: Very interested in the true live story and of course I’m a huge lifelong fan of Kurt Russell.‬

‪Thoughts: Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg have been on a run the last couple of years and all three of their films have gotten very good reviews.  Also a little note Peter Berg does make a cameo in this one. Plus a little more trivia I do think this is the fist film Hudson and Russell have been in together but they’re only on screen together for one scene.‬

‪What I liked: This is a very well made and well directed film.  The thing I like the most is how they keep the pace up, most directors would have made this a 2 hour plus movie but Berg streamlined it and it really helps with the tension and the sheer fear of the situation.  This easily could have been a disaster movie and in a way it is but it’s grounded with the characters and most of them are pretty well fleshed out, they’re not walking cliches except for the evil rich business men of course.‬
‪The acting is very good here, I’m not the biggest Marky Mark fan but he’s solid here, he cares he’s not sleep walking.  ‬

‪Kurt Russell is the standout, he brings such presence and of course experience.  I also liked Dylan O’Brien in this, he’s someone to watch for he does nice character work here, this character could have been very slight but he brings him to live, he’s not a plot point he’s a real character.‬
‪The set pieces, the effects for the most part are very good, you fell the danger and the CGI does not take you out of the film, not one time. The technology stuff is very well down, the sound is very good.‬

‪What I didn’t like: The Wahlberg family stuff wasn’t really need, they cut to his wife during these intense scenes and it really slowed down the momentum, wasn’t need we didn’t need to see her calling to see what was going on, it added nothing. This film also did a couple of very sappy and cliched things that they should have avoided. Near the end it was getting close to the Life Channel movies, it was very good for the most part but it did  get a little sappy and self righteous.  Even though it’s based on a true story it’s always too bad that life was taken because business men were greedy, it’s a cliche but also very true sadly.‬

‪Final Thoughts:  Very good film, I enjoyed it for the most part and it’s worth a watch.‬

‪Rating: 7/10‬

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Tombstone (1993) Movie Retro Review by John Walsh

TOMBSTONE

Directors: George P. Cosmatos, Kevin Jarre
Writer: Kevin Jarre
Stars: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott

Right, so I’ve admitted before that I’m a massive fan of the western genre, particularly the spaghetti western trilogy, and yet somehow I managed to miss Tombstone (1993). How the hell did that happen? That’s the burning question which has etched itself into my mind since I watched it a few days ago. This film literally (not literally) blew my mind with how good it actually is. It’s just phenomenally well written with an excellent cast of actors/actresses.

What I enjoyed the most about it, besides the memorable and infinitely quotable dialogue or the bursts of wild action, was in my mind at least the trio of arcs that ran synchronously throughout. First of all, you have Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell), facing an existential crisis after hanging up his deputy sheriff badge and seeking out a new life in the silver rush town of Tombstone with his brothers, Virgil (Sam Elliott) and Morgan (Bill Paxton). Secondly, you have the side arc involving Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer), the dance with death he has with both tuberculosis, the Clanton led cowboys and Johnny Ringo (Michael Biehn) in particular. And finally, the wider arc which inevitably pits the brothers and Holliday against the cowboys within Tombstone and further afield.

George P. Cosmatos and Kevin Jarre deserve immense credit for the ease in which this all occurs organically and simultaneously, with each arc being given its fair share of attention, development and ultimately brought to a satisfying conclusion. It was nice coming from watching Fury, a film I criticised for having an unmemorable story and poorly developed, 2D characters, to this. This was the complete antithesis of that and I was engrossed in this story and emotionally invested in the Earp brothers and Holliday from start to finish. Speaking of the story, I’ll try to summarise it in a way that doesn’t spoil anything for a person that might’ve not seen the film already, although I’m fully aware that having been released nearly 25 years ago, that’s sure to be a niche market indeed.

In short, this film is primarily about Wyatt Earp’s journey. It begins with his departure from a distinguished law enforcement career as a deputy sheriff and his attempt to find a more enjoyable and financially prosperous life with his brothers. Life is very rarely that simple however and with a disinterested, opium addicted wife and the town of Tombstone packed with low life outlaws, cowboys and a spineless sheriff, it’s not long before trouble begins to brew. Amongst this is the alluring figure of Josephine Marcus (Dana Delany), whose continued presence throughout and free-spirited ideology on life quickly leaves Wyatt spellbound. He finds himself torn between his old life, when his two brothers become marshals, resolving to help in dealing with the outlaws, and the preferable, potentially fresh start with Josephine.

That is what the film is supposed to be primarily about. Mr. Val Kilmer has something to say about that and some, however. What can I say about this mans performance in the film? Just wow. Firstly, I find it absolutely astonishing that he never one an oscar for this portrayal. A portrayal which most people familiar with the history of the real Doc Holliday seem to agree is the most faithful interpretation to date. From his characters memorable, often drunken, delivery of the dialogue (“I’m your huckleberry” is now in my mind forever more), imbued with an authentic southern drawl in all to his scarily, genuinely realistic portrayal of a man dying with tuberculosis. He provides laughs, action and steals the show from everyone else in the film. It’s easily one of the best acting performances I’ve seen in a long, long time.

That’s not to say the rest aren’t decent either, they damn well are. Indeed, there’s a quite few very good performances. Stephen Lang, Dana Delany, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliott and Powers Boothe, are all very good to excellent. Kurt Russell is fantastic as ever in his role as Wyatt. I seem to be reviewing a lot of his films recently, and believe me, it’s not coincidental. The guy is a tremendous actor and his resume of cracking films is ridiculous. Shoutouts to the cameos from Michael Rooker and Charlton Heston too.

From a visual perspective, this film has a real retro vibe to it and is just gorgeously shot. It could genuinely have been filmed in the 60s or 70s and not looked out of place. There’s so many stunning, scenic wide shots and cool little closeup cuts to the actors during stand-offs or moments of tension which was nicely done and really effective. The whole cinematography in general was just perfect, so take a bow William A. Fraker. It would be remiss of me not to mention the set and costume design which was on the money too. Musically, I loved the score in this film. Again, much like the visuals, it was like a classic western score and married well with everything happening in the film.

It’s not very often I watch a film and deem it something of a classic. This film is without a doubt in that category. It has all the components to propel it to that standard. The leading actors and overall ensemble performances are fantastic; it’s got some great dialogue; excellent bursts of action sandwiched between deeper, more reflective moments; the story is engaging, entertaining and it’s incredible both visually and musically. Also, it has subtle, little moments of brilliance, like for example, Doc’s clear analysis of Johnny Ringo’s draw speed during their first encounter and the way he then clearly uses that later to his advantage. I have an appreciation for small details of that ilk. Honestly, I can’t pick any faults with this film apart from it maybe embellishing the truth in its portrayal of certain events, but this isn’t really criticism as such, as it will always happen in films.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this film to anybody that hasn’t seen it. It deserves to be watched for Val Kilmer’s performance alone. Even if you aren’t a massive fan of the western genre, this film will still entertain you. It’s that good.

 

Breakdown (1997) Movie Retro Review by John Walsh

BREAKDOWN

Director: Jonathan Mostow
Writers: Jonathan Mostow (story), Jonathan Mostow (screenplay)
Stars: Kurt Russell,  J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan

Well, I’m continuing on with the whole ‘retro’ review theme and I thought I’d share my views on what’s becoming a bit of a forgotten classic from 1997. (It’s not George of the Jungle or Batman and Robin) No, it’s Jonathon Mostow’s Breakdown, which honestly picked a terrible year to release, because it’s a brilliant film with a captivating story and great performances. With the competition that year however it was never going to get the love it deserved.

It follows Jeffrey (Kurt Russell) and Amy (Kathleen Quinlan), a husband and wife in the process of journeying through the barren desert environment of Utah on their way to San Diego. Their old life in Boston left them in financial hardship, you see and Jeffrey’s hoping his new job will be just the boost they need.

They first hit our screens in their flashy, red, pick-up truck narrowly avoiding a pair of rednecks that pull out right in front of them. Things don’t get any better upon meeting said rednecks further down the road at a gas station. The driver going by the name of Earl (M.C. Gainey), takes umbrage at the incident and begins throwing his weight around and when the car stalls shortly afterwards in the middle of nowhere, it becomes increasingly clear that this just ain’t going to be their day.

The redneck duo arrive on the scene once more, passing the pair initially before stalking them from a distance for a few nervous minutes. This brief tense moment (a sign of things to come) ends when a trucker appears on the scene apparently eager to assist. Christening himself as the Red Barr (J.T. Walsh), he takes a quick look at the truck and kindly offers to take them to Belle’s, a small diner down the road. Jeffrey, of course, isn’t keen on leaving the car on its lonesome and decides to stay, letting Amy ride on to call for a tow truck. Whilst his logic is understandable, you can’t help but feel that it’s his wife he should be more concerned about, which prophetically turns out to be the case.

This is a fantastically well made film from Mostow, absolutely bursting at the seams with tension, action and mystery. It of course shares a massive amount of similarities with the more recently released Nocturnal Animals, a film I also reviewed. I do recall mentioning at the time that my favourite part of that movie was the film within a film, action heavy, mystery component.

Breakdown has that on steroids and thankfully without the layer of pretentiousness that afflicted Mr. Ford’s creation. And whilst the villain within Nocturnal Animals fictitious setting lacked a rational reason for his actions (he was just a psycho that like killing people), the Red Barr has it in an abundance. Superficially, it plays on the ingrained, ideological hatred between southern republicans and northern democrats, but the reality is much simpler.

Sure, he’s surrounded by hillbilly, rednecks of dubious mental fortitude, but Barr is a man motivated by money, plain and simple. He targets affluent looking road-trippers for the sole reason of robbing them and there’s a very telling moment when Jeffrey stumbles upon several boxes full with personal belongings of previous victims, hinting at the cold, callousness of the man and his cronies. J.T. Walsh’s performance plays a massive part in making the character so believable too.

Right from the first moment you see him step out of his truck in a stereotypical trucker cap and double denim, there’s an immediate sense of uneasiness despite his forced, faux politeness. Walsh imbues the character with palpable personality, even if it does become increasingly dislikable once it begins to be fleshed out. I know it’s a spoiler, but his end is easily one of the most satisfying put to film.

I run out of superlatives to describe Kurt Russell. The man is a fantastic actor, one of my favourites and much like the majority of the cast within Breakdown, he’s perfectly cast in his role of Jeffrey. I particularly liked the way the character gradually ditched the slight middle-class arrogance for a more aggressive rambunctiousness as the growing realisation of what was happening began to dawn on him. His little angry outbursts, first directed at the Belle diner owner soon developed into the full on torturing of his nemesis Earl with tape and some hard braking.

Jeffrey is just an ordinary man and certainly not a willing action hero, doing everything to rescue his wife. It was a role that demanded lots of physicality, including wading through rapids to climbing up the side of houses and Russell eased his way through it in a manner that Tom Cruise would be proud of.

My preference is for mystery dramas like this to build into an exciting finale. Se7en did it breathtakingly well, Nocturnal Animals less so, and whilst not quite reaching the levels of the former, Breakdown certainly builds into a fitting climax. The confrontation at Barr’s ranch develops into a good ten or fifteen minutes of action fuelled craziness, involving his unsuspecting wife and son, not to mention a thrilling chase scene with a truck that ushered back uncomfortable memories of Terminator 2.

Its terrifically done and a fitting end to a highly enjoyable film. By all accounts it was a relative success on its release and did make a profit, but the sheer plethora of great films that year meant it probably didn’t get the level of recognition it deserves. I suspect a large majority of people will have seen it before, but if you haven’t then I absolutely recommend giving it a watch.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Movie Review by John Walsh

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review

Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn,  Dan Abnett (based on the Marvel comics by)
Stars: Chris Pratt,  Zoe Saldana,  Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell

The first Guardians of the Galaxy film was and still is my favourite comic book movie to ever be released. Gunn weaved magic, rolling out a fresh concept in a fairly bloated genre and ultimately rewarding Disney for the enormous risk they took. It possessed everything; humour in spades, emotion, action, amazing visuals and arguably the best soundtrack out there. It also had a quintet of characters that really anchored the film, transcending the story and forging an instant connection with the overwhelming majority of viewers.

It really was an impossible task then to better that piece of cinematic magnificence in the sequel and whilst James Gunn didn’t quite achieve the impossible, he still got mighty damn close. All the favourites are back and the same hilarious banter that made the first film is back with them. I’ve heard more than a few suggest that the humour was forced, that it didn’t quite pay off or hit the heights of the first. I can only go with my experience and Drax (Dave Bautista) alone had me in stitches at several points. He definitely served as the main comedy provider in the film this time, subsequently being robbed of a more beefier role in the action sequences, which was a minor disappointment. Whilst Chris Pratt as Quill, the other provider of near as many laughs, is a match made in heaven to the point where, like Jackman and Downey Jnr as Wolverine and Iron Man respectively, I honestly can’t envisage anybody else playing that role now.

The film excels in the first and middle act when it strangely lacks a notable plot or villain, instead choosing to primarily focus on the quintet (prominent side characters not withstanding) and the unique, almost dysfunctional, relationship they share with one another. I can relate more than most to this in many ways, as I have a similar relationship with my family, banter flying around and more than a few profanities flung in for good measure. Disney, caught on the hop originally, realised just how popular Baby Groot was going to be and capitalised fully in a brilliant, incredibly cute opener that also lets the viewer know that the music in the second instalment is going to be every bit as varied and good this time round. When Kurt Russell does finally return to the screen again as Quill’s estranged father (there’s a much younger CG version at the beginning which I actually loved), it becomes almost immediately apparent that something isn’t ringing quite true with him.

For one, his name is Ego, which is so glaringly not a name for a benevolent Demi-God. He attempts to reconnect with his prodigal son, explaining that he too has god-like powers, though slyly withholding his real motive until later. Meanwhile, Yondu (Michael Rooker), the man who actually raised Quill steps in to provide some much needed action and a change of pace as the former settles into the transcendental, zen like, environment of Ego’s very own planet. (How fitting was My Sweet Lord by George Harrison during their arrival?) Rooker was absolutely fantastic in this film and the real standout performer. Just about everyone seemed to have a family issue at some stage; Quill with Ego, Gamora with Nebula, Drax and his daughter. Which made Yondu’s arc in particular all the more meaningful, providing some real emotional resonance to the film as his dealings with both Rocket and Quill further fed into the family dominant thematics at play.

If I was to have any criticisms then it would be the underuse of Gamora, those annoying gold gits and the way they continually made a nuisance of themselves at pivotal points, the climatic battle between Ego and the Guardians, and the latter’s suitability/choice as a villain in general. Kurt Russell was amazing don’t get me wrong, I’ve said it before, I love that man and his mere presence was felt here, believe me. It just felt to me like Gunn looked upon the plot and Ego as an afterthought though. His motivations and need for Quill were a little iffy and what was that bizarre jelly plant turning into a weird, city consuming, landslide thing all about? The gold aliens (I hate them that much, I refuse to even google their name) boiled my blood, they were that stupid and irrelevant to the story. As for the climatic battle; it just felt a little rushed, predictable and CG heavy. It wasn’t offensively bad or anything like that, but it was a small gripe nonetheless.

Ultimately though, much like in the first film, it’s all about the characters. They epitomise Guardians of the Galaxy for me and it was them I came back to see. The story didn’t have to be an epic, riveting tale, full of complicated twists, and quite frankly, it wasn’t. It was more inward looking, focusing on emotion and only really exploded into a Galaxy saving experience in the final act. I’m pleased to say that Gunn delivers and some in fleshing out the characters. He continued to develop the backstory of Gamora, her idiosyncratic relationship with Nebula and even the self-titled Starlord himself, delving a little further into his childhood and the relationship between him and Yondu in particular. He also delivered with an absolute belter of a soundtrack and visuals that were borderline eye porn at times. I loved just about every minute of this film and although it’s not quite as good as the first one, there’s not much in it.

If by some bizarre reason you haven’t yet watched this fantastic film, then I would absolutely recommend giving it a blast. Some things need to be experienced in a cinema and this is definitely one of them.

Bone Tomahawk (2015) Movie Review by John Walsh

BONE TOMAHAWK

Director: S. Craig Zahler
Writer: S. Craig Zahler
Stars: Kurt Russell,  Patrick Wilson,  Matthew Fox

I’m going to state right off the bat that I enjoy good westerns, something of a guilty pleasure of mine, and also a slow burning, psychological horror. With that in mind, it would be fair to say that I highly enjoyed the perfect blend of both those genres in Bone Tomahawk by S. Craig Zahler. It’s got something rare to find in most modern films and that’s originality. It’s not the most complicated story you’ll ever encounter, but it’s extremely well written and features some fantastic performances across the board.

It gets the introductions of the quartet we’ll be following for the overwhelming majority of the film out the way early, but not before opening with a gut wrenching, gruesome, throat slitting scene carried out at the hands of a brigand double team. The brutal violence, not in any way suitable for children I hasten to add, and punchy dialogue perfectly setting the tone for the rest of the film. One of the men enquiringly pondering “why do they always wet themselves?”, before being given a lecture and then eventually setting off with his more elderly partner in crime on a death march straight into a savage, troglodyte settlement.

The troglodytes, a particularly nasty branch of cannibalistic ones nonetheless, are the main villains of the piece if you will and their murder of a stable boy, abduction of three ‘civilised’ folk from an unnamed town on the frontier of the Wild West acts as the catalyst for the story. As previously mentioned, we meet the leading protagonists prior to this daring attack, which include; Sheriff Hunt (Kurt Russell), Arthur (Patrick Wilson), Brooder (Matthew Fox) and Chicory (Richard Jenkins). They quickly decide that with time against them, a hasty departure is necessary if the lives of the abductees are to be saved, during a tense meeting at ‘The Learned Goat’ (the local bar) and with the helpful advice of a Native American guide/expert, they are soon made aware of the settlement location before heading out almost at once.

The vast majority of this film encompasses the groups journey out into and through the Wild West and the variety of challenges they encounter throughout. It almost harkened up memories of the Lord of the Rings books/films in a strange way, with its likewise ton of travelling, interrupted by intermittent, but regular enough, bouts of violence. I can assure that this doesn’t get boring at any stage, at least not for me, which is in no small part down to the consistently excellent dialogue and chemistry shared between the four men. This isn’t a fast paced film, but the slow burning nature works well, with the dialogue heavy scenes and well developed characters really allowing an effective bond to be created. I honestly cared about these men by the end when things took an inevitable nasty turn.

Kurt Russell was just fantastic in this film. You come to expect these performances from the man and, as I’ve previously written whilst reviewing Hell or High Water, I don’t think there’s another actor on this planet that can do realistic, grisly, hard as nails, characters like Kurt. Matthew Fox’s was actually my favourite performance in this film, however, with his portrayal of Brooder. His cynical outlook on life and deadpan delivery of dialogue was hilarious, but he also had quite a sad backstory which gets fleshed out as the film progresses. Richard Jenkins was hilarious as the slow witted, but well meaning, Chicory. His character provided regular laughs with his often inappropriate ramblings, which helped lighten the tone of what is a pretty grim film. Finally, Patrick Wilson also shone as Arthur; a man on a mission, who displays real determination whilst battling through emotional and physical pain.

It’s funny in a way, because throughout the film we continuously hear remakes about how the civilised folk are smarter than the troglodytes and yet when it finally comes to the confrontation, the shit well in truly hits the fan, as the supposed dumb, savages, mount some fierce, quick-fire attacks that startle and quickly overpower the group. Their sheer size and muscular builds are intimidating, whilst the eerie, ear piercing alien-esque calls they make lend to the horror aspect of the film nicely. Without giving much else away, I’ll just say that there’s a particular scene around this point that is up there with some of the most gruesome that I’ve witnessed and the vengeance meted out afterwards is deeply satisfying. I actually fist pumped when Hunt got tore in. That’s all I’ll give away, because this film needs to be enjoyed in the moment if you haven’t seen it before.

If you’re a fan of westerns, horror or even Kurt Russell then get this watched immediately. Zahler, between both his direction and writing, has produced a really, really good film here. I’m only sorry that it’s taken me so long to watch it, despite having it recommended to me around its release. I’ll give a quick honourable mention to the understated, almost muted, string heavy score which really worked well in this film and also the beautiful cinematography, not to mention, immaculate period costume design prevalent throughout. One particular wide shot was incredibly cool as the quartet headed out into a dusty, desert horizon with Chicory questioning whether the earth was really flat or not. Anyway, without rambling on any more, I once again implore you to watch this excellent western.

Deepwater Horizon (2016) Movie Review by John Walsh

Deepwater Horizon Review

Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Matthew Michael Carnahan (screenplay), Matthew Sand (screenplay)
Stars: Mark Wahlberg,  Kurt Russell,  Douglas M. Griffin

In another successful collaborative effort between Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg, Deepwater Horizon, much like Patriot’s Day’s retelling of the Boston marathon bombing, is a dramatisation of a recent tragic real life event. This time focusing on the offshore drilling rig of the same name, the horrific explosion that occurred and the subsequent fiery oil spill which would go on to be the worst in U.S. history.

It all begins with the sound of the real Mike Williams being questioned about his role in the disaster and then Mark Wahlberg’s iteration takes to the screen along with Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez) as Berg sets about quickly introducing two of the films primary protagonists. The former awakes in bed with his wife, before sharing time with his family on the eve of his departure to the rig for 21 day’s, the exploding can of his daughter during her description of his job for a school project providing an eerily prophetic glimpse at what’s in store, whilst the latter is seen trotting out of her house before struggling to fix the mechanical issues dogging her vintage muscle car and finally hitching a ride on her partners bike. “You really want to drive? Then sell that piece of shit and get a Ducati” we here him say, this early bit of humour, providing a good indication of the witty banter this film does so well.

We’re then introduced to Jimmy ‘Mr. Jimmy’ Harrell (Kurt Russell) at the airport prior to them heading out and the short scene between him and the two BP executives gives a pretty decent insight into the commanding persona of his character. He politely asks one of them to “lose” his tie for superstitious reasons as it’s magenta colour is shared with the most severe of warnings on oil rigs. The early stages of the film is littered with little prophetic nods of this ilk and whilst it’s not overly distracting, it is pretty obvious that they’re attempting build tension towards the main event. This is taken one stage further when a bird strike occurs on the helicopter ride out to the rig. Once again, there’s some good, witty exchanges between the characters during this short trip, especially between Andrea and Mike, with a nice little recurring conversation regarding her broken car between the pair first popping up here.

Upon arriving at the rig, the shit hits the metaphorical fan almost immediately, when a team who were supposed to be tasked with checking the integrity of the cement structure abruptly leave the rig just as Mike, Andrea, Jimmy and the others arrive. This of course causes the long serving and well respected Jimmy to go off on a tangent, naturally seeking assurances of safety, which inevitably leads him on a collision course with Vidrine (John Malkovich); an annoyingly arrogant BP executive/inspector. After much debating and surprisingly vitriolic bashing of BP, including lines like “you’re a 180 billion dollar company and you cheat”, all parties involved agree to run a negative pressure test. The first of these is less than successful, but an adamant Vidrine, in complete denial even in the face of huge pressure spikes won’t admit defeat, providing a plausible ‘bladder’ theory for the results and demanding a retest on the ‘kill line’ to prove his point.

It’s at this point really that things go downhill dramatically for all onboard the rig. The second negative pressure test comes back all clear and a smug Vidrine, throwing awfully polite insults like “you’re nervous as cats” and threats out, essentially forces the operation to be resumed. As history now shows, this proved to be a catastrophic decision. Shortly afterwards, a massive, irreversible, pressure buildup erupted up the main pipe on the rig causing widespread destruction on the rig, killing dozens and finally after a huge explosion, sent the entire structure up into a blazing inferno. Jimmy, who was in the shower at the time of the initial explosion, is partially blinded at one point and forced to remove a massive metal shard from his foot. Despite this, both him and Mike, the former ordering Vidrine to “get his ass on the lifeboat”, manage to keep calm in the chaos that surrounds them and courageously work together to try and cut the pipe and stop the oil from flowing out into the water.

Kurt Russell steals the show in this as the wily, old Jimmy, the veteran worker on the rigs, who despite having suffered terrible wounds, refuses to leave the burning structure until all avenues are exhausted. He brings plenty of charisma to the role and displays some good chemistry with the others. Mark Wahlberg is as reliable as ever putting in an excellent performance as the heroic Mike. These type of films are perfectly suited for him and you wouldn’t expect anything less than what he produced. Gina Rodriguez is something of a third sprung in the wheel and doesn’t really effect the overall story too much, but the scenes she had were well acted and she was decent enough. John Malkovich was fantastic as the incredibly annoying Vidrine. I doubt there’s been a more annoying character in a film I’ve watched all year. Everything about him was grating, including the accent, so I give kudos to Malkovich in his portrayal as the money obsessed man who would be later charged with manslaughter.

The film was a visual masterpiece and displayed some lovely cinematography work from Enrique Chediak. There was one particularly beautiful wide shot of the rig, standing alone in the water, prior to the disaster that caught my eye. It really helped highlight the precarious nature of these structures, whilst the internal shots of the piping and underwater rumblings added real tension to the film especially during the test scenes. But even the flames, explosions and fiery, oil slicked water were incredibly realistic and really captured what must have been an absolutely horrific experience for the poor workers trapped onboard.

Whilst I enjoyed their more recent collaboration on Patriot’s Day more, this was still a very good film. Peter Berg really has proven himself to be an excellent director. There was a neat little recurring conversation between Andrea and Mike that I touched upon earlier which did a good job of syncing the chaos at the end with the relative calmness at the beginning. I like when films do little things like this, the running joke about desert island artists from Green Room rings a bell, and it humanises the characters to an extent too. One criticism I have is that, having not been privy to the real life events of the characters, I’d be inclined to say this film more than likely spiced up some of the moments of tension for the Hollywood experience, but it certainly doesn’t detract any from what is an enjoyable watch.