With two disaster films this fall (the other being "Patriot's Day", which deals with the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing), Peter Berg is quickly becoming this generation's Irwin Allen. Before "Deepwater Horizon" devolves into mindless pyrotechnics and fireballs, it maintains quite a masterful tone of intelligence and even a lean procedural tilt as it builds up to the reasons for the BP oil rig disaster in 2010... all of which means I much appreciated its first half infinitely more than the second when it becomes forced to uphold its blockbuster trappings and create superheroes out of its ordinary 'Mericans. Yet, despite its faults, the film slightly won me over in its clear-eyed explanations for the faulty science and corporate inefficiency (personified by John Malkovich as a BP executive so smarmy, he can't even remember to hold his cajun accent throughout) that ultimately doomed the working class on board the mechanical giant. Bad accents notwithstanding, "Deepwater Horizon" is probably Berg's best film since "Friday Night Lights".
Not only does Mick Jackson's drama effectively stand up as a courtroom thriller, but it hones in on an especially nasty subsection of World War II- that being the revisionist (and utterly racist) view that the Holocaust didn't happen. Top performances from Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall aside, "Denial's" real ace-in-the-hole is Tom Wilkinson who, by this point in his career, does this type of sturdy, solemn turn with ease, yet here he mines a resonance and gravity in the role that should earn him an Oscar nomination. Rooted in fact and based on the book by Deborah Lipstadt (who herself went through this process), "Denial" weaves together a variety of ideas about the forensic proof of the Holocaust, yet its ultimate message is the one that cannot be proven, which is to say the scars on so many people who experienced it.
Marcin Wrona's Polish language film begs the question: who's really possessed? The groom, seemingly inhabited by the spirit of a dead girl whose bones he uncovers or the numerous wedding goers, lubricated by drink and dance and whose bodies twist and contort in the same way as the groom?
Full review on Dallas Film Now
A country-fried bender to end all benders. Full review on Dallas Film Now