A stomach virus almost kept me from my appointed rounds of movie theaters, but I did manage to squeeze in two films: Deepwater Horizon and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Neither was perfect, but both were interesting.
A disclaimer: my father was a long-time wholesaler for Sinclair Oil and one of my maternal cousins is married to a BP administrator in Alaska; therefore, I tend to have a very favorable view of the oil industry. Deepwater Horizon is an attempt to tell the story of the ill-fated oil well in the Gulf of Mexico through the eyes of some of the people working on the rig. The first part of the film provides insight into the personal lives of a few employees and their families, but the heart of the film is the explosion and subsequent fire and oil spill.
Kurt Russell has the most interesting role as an aging rig supervisor, but Mark Wahlberg and Kate Hudson receive more screen time. I did not remember that Hudson is Russell’s daughter in real life (if Hollywood can ever be described as real life). Again, the best part of the film is the actual disaster; the special effects are very well done.
I might suggest an article on the Deepwater Horizon crisis in the October issue of Texas Monthly; it describes the legal proceedings against two BP employees who were on the rig at the time of the explosion; it also raises the question of how the film might affect the legal standing of one man.
My second film was very different from Deepwater Horizon; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is another Tim Burton exercise in macabre story-telling. I did not recognize any of the child actors and I will not say that Eva Green and Samuel L. Jackson covered themselves with glory as the major adult characters.
I knew from the first trailer I saw months ago that this film could also be entitled The X-Men at Hogwarts; in fact, I have seen one review that uses that line.
The first hour is very slow, but once the action starts, Burton is in full throttle. Some scenes are so gruesome that I can not recommend the film for the younger generation; one particularly gruesome scene outdoes the eyeball gouging scene in Shakespeare’s King Lear.
There are two more books in the series that inspired the film; I don’t know if sequels are planned. If you are not enthralled by Tim Burton’s films, you can let this one pass.
PS: A few reviews ago, I was fussing about the propriety of a film on the unresolved Snowden affair, but I am even more appalled by a trailer for a new film about the Boston Marathon bombing. That is unseemly haste, to say the least, not to mention crass exploitation.