Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Film Review: Patriots Day (2016)

Patriots Day (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Fandango Now
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...an unnerving account of a devastating tragedy."

An account of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the immediate aftermath...

Patriots Day is based on a true story—obviously. Of course, as with every film based on a true story, this film took a few creative liberties. For example, Patriots Day follows Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), a person who doesn't actually exist. Saunders, however, presents the best of the brave first-responders with his efficient character. Although I didn't personally experience this tragic attack, I think it's safe to say this film won't offend anyone despite some of its liberties. In terms of a synopsis, there isn't much else to say. The plot follows Saunders and other responders, such as FBI Special Agent DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon), as they witness the event and pursue the men responsible. It also depicts the Tsarnaev brothers and their actions before, during, and after the attack. It leads to a compelling ending.


Patriots Day is a great movie. It had me glued to my seat from beginning to end. The drama felt real and human—it felt authentic. This is thanks to the focus on character, even if the lead wasn't real. There's a little bit of humor here and there to create a more human experience, too. This isn't an action-packed thriller, but its few action scenes were excellent. The shootouts, the chase scenes... it was all very effective. As a whole, the film was very tense, too. Watching the Tsarnaev brothers wreak havoc on the innocent people of Boston was unnerving. Yet, it remained hopeful. I don't really have any significant complaints for the film. I suppose it's not the best movie out there, but that's not really a complaint, is it?

The acting was great. Like in Deepwater Horizon, Mark Wahlberg shows he has grown as an actor. He continues to show greater range and he fits the 'everyday man' role very well, despite his status. (I know, I'll never look like Wahlberg in his prime or otherwise. Thanks.) Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J. K. Simmons, and Alex Wolff were also great. The film was shot very well. I really liked the camerawork. The music was also good. The screenplay was written by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer; Berg also directs. The writing was great, balancing entertainment and reality with a steady hand. Yet again, Berg shows his ability to capture human tragedy and resolve without glorifying any of the wrong parties.

Overall, Patriots Day is a great movie. This is an unnerving account of a devastating tragedy. If you're interested in the subject, this will keep you on the edge of your seat. Just remember: it's not 100-percent accurate. This is a film—and a good one at that.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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