Patriots Day Reviews
DVD Movie Review: Patriots Day
Date Viewed: April 14 2017
Directed By Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Hancock, Friday Night Lights, The Rundown and Battleship)
Screenplay By Peter Berg, Joshua Zetumer and Matt Cook, Story By Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, Based on the book "Boston Strong" by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan, Vincent Curatola, Alex Wolff, Themo Melikidze, Michael Beach, James Colby, Jimmy O. Yang, Rachel Brosnahan, Christopher O'Shea and Melissa Benoist.
Peter Berg's "Patriots Day" truly is a Boston Strong movie. The film is about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings but it's also about the law enforcement and community's overwhelming response to the terrorist attack. "Patriots Day" is the third movie from director Berg and actor and producer Mark Wahlberg and their collaborative teamwork in this film clearly shows. It could've been just another straight-up action thriller with minimal acting and little emotional atmosphere but no Berg and Wahlberg really wanted to make this movie right and they did just that. With strong acting, spectacular action scenes and stellar direction, "Patriots Day" is an excellent action-drama that not only pays tribute to the heroes of the marathon bombings, it also pays tribute to an American city for staying strong after a horrific terrorist attack.
The story revolves around Boston police sergeant Tommy Saunders (Wahlberg), even though his character is not the main fore-front of this story, he does have a key role in the film and that is being a Boston copper who does his job. As everybody knows, two Russian born, half-Chechen brothers named Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze) detonated two pressure cooker bombs during the Boston Marathon which left five innocent people killed and dozens injured.
The bombings cause widespread panic and FBI agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) gets assigned to the case along with Boston police commissioner, Ed Davis (John Goodman). While Sergeant Saunders searches for possible evidence and survivors, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev are already planning their next attack and the target this time is New York City but first they must lay low until the news coverage of the bombing investigation wears off with the public.
When investigators do find out who the bombers are, agent DesLauriers is reluctant to release photos of the Tsarnaev brothers to the public because it might cause them to run off and hide someplace where the authorities can't find them. The Tsarnaevs attempt to lay low but they fail quickly as they kill MIT officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking) and they carjack an Asian student named Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang). Meng later escapes from the brothers at a Shell station and he tells officer Saunders what happened to him, what city the brothers are targeting next and he gives him the stolen car's GPS tracker code.
Soon, the Tsarnaev brothers engage in an intense firefight with police which results in several officers getting injured and Tamerlan getting shot by Watertown police sergeant, Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons) and run over by his brother as he attempted to escape. The authorities later found Dzhokhar hiding under the sheets of a boat and he surrendered peacefully.
After making three "based-on-a-true-story" event films (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and now Patriots Day) that dominated the news cycle for days on end, I guess you can call Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg's slate of films their "American Heroes Trilogy". Even though these were real-life news events, Wahlberg and Berg took the news part out of it and made these three films just about the heroes of these events.
The Watertown shootout is not only a great action scene, it's also amazing piece of skillful direction from Berg. The Tsarnaev brothers' motivations are more explained in this film than in the news. We knew about who they were in the news but we didn't know about their backgrounds until weeks or months later. Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze are terrific as the Tsarnaevs and Melissa Benoist who many of you know as "Supergirl" plays an essential and crucial part of the film as Katherine Russell, the wife of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who gets intensely interrogated by investigators. The performances from Wahlberg, J.K. Simmons, John Goodman and Kevin Bacon are all around terrific but Michelle Monaghan kind of gets nothing to do as Saunders' wife.
Many people can argue that Peter Berg and Wahlberg are making the same movie again but all three of their works "Lone Survivor", "Deepwater Horizon" and "Patriots Day" are more compelling stories than you realize on the page. This third collaboration between director Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg was one of the most chronically, important films of last year.
Want realness? Watch the National Geographic doc 'Inside The Hunt For The Boston Bombers' for a far more riveting account. The NOVA doc 'Manhunt: Boston Bombers' was good as well.
My issues with this film are pretty minor, but I had a couple. As much as I loved giving each character attention before they become relevant when s*** hits the fan, a lot of times making us empathize with them ultimately came down to giving them a love interest, and after they played their part in the main events most of them were largely forgotten about. I see what they were trying to do, and I respect it, but it could have been handled better. Similarly, I'm not sure what to think of Mark Wahlberg's role. He's sort of an amalgamation character of all the cops who played a role in the bombing investigation. I understand why they did this, but it starts to become a little unbelievable that this one low-ranking cop would continuously find himself in the middle of the action. It's the type of thing you're willing to buy in say a Die Hard movie, but in a true story movie, it doesn't quite work. I understand why they did this, and I'm not sure how I would do it better, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't come off as a little weird.
Ultimately my problems with this movie are really little more than slight annoyances, hardly anything that could come close to ruining the experience. Because in the end, I loved this movie. It left a strong impact on me and as soon as I was done watching it I wanted to tell everyone I know about how great it was. It's a fascinating feet-on-the-ground look at a story we all know from the news, and watching these people work so hard to catch these guys is inspiring and fascinating. I loved watching these people work, just seeing them do their job and do it with such determination was riveting. And the heart of the movie and it's message of the power of love over hate is genuinely touching. It's an incredible movie, I loved it.