‘Patriots Day’ highlights the power of the human spirit with only a few distractions
Director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg team-up again (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) for an engaging and entertaining tribute to the survivors and those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Patriots Day centers on the fallout and investigation which followed this horrific terrorist attack.
On Patriots’ Day, April 15, 2013, near the finish line of the Boston marathon, two pressure cooker bombs exploded about 12 seconds apart, killing three civilians and injuring an estimated 264 others causing the loss of blood and limbs.
Wahlberg headlines a great cast which includes: Kevin Bacon as Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, John Goodman as Commissioner Ed Davis, and Rachel Brosnahan and Christopher O’Shea as two of the bombing victims Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes.
The worst part of the film is Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze as the Tsarnaev brothers and Melissa Benoist appearing as Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s wife, Katherine Russell — not because of the actors, but because of the amount of screen time spent normalizing their radicalization. In fact, Berg’s film fits too nicely with the hero worship by Rolling Stone magazine and others of Dzhokhar (because Tamerlan is the real bad guy.)
Berg creates too many plot points and focuses on too many characters to hit a home run, but the handheld camera work is great for the tension surrounding the attack. The story accurately follows the timeline and pays attention to the details as the manhunt ensues.
Wahlberg takes the audience on the journey, but isn’t really the “hero” of the film, which is Boston. In fact, “Boston Strong” is the takeaway as the audience prepares to exit the theaters.
Sadly, the film is too obsessed with the “Boston” lifestyle and frankly, there is nothing admirable about the excessive use of profanity.
Patriots Day races too quickly through difficult questions like the abuse of power during the manhunt, a quasi-martial law “search every house” response, which should alarm Americans and disqualify Davel Walker from any further position of power.
Patriots Day receives 3 out of 5 stars
Giving screen time to the true heroes among us and the valor of officers is never bad for me personally. Patriots Day seems too contrived for a true story. Berg did an admirable job, but nothing Oscar worthy.
Tamerlan was portrayed as a monster, but the sympathy shown to Dzhokhar and his snowflake friends, who have been
implicated in the attack, charged with obstructing the investigation, was a bit hard to swallow. (UPDATED: SEE COMMENT BELOW)
Call evil EVIL and I’ll be more impressed. The wife, Katie Russell, is portrayed as the wicked human she is, but the evidence never ccaught up with her in real life…maybe the film will help.
The take home is clear: “Boston Strong”…but too much profanity and mixed messages keeps a fog over this film docmenting the tragedy on that day.