Patriots Day Review

“Patriots Day” is a once again team up between Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg as they give us the emotional and gripping thriller about the Boston Bombing which happened back in 2013.  “Patriots Day” starts with the night before the bombing leading all the way up to the capture of terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  The film utilizes a Hollywood structural narrative while also combining live footage from the news and from the bombings as well to create an intense and emotional film that is realistic and gritty, much like we saw in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.”  “Patriots Day” stars Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, J.K. Simmons and Michelle Monaghan from a script by Berg and Matt Cook.

“Patriots Day” was a film that had peeked my interest since hearing about it a year or so ago.  I am very cautious with films that are about real life stories, situations or historical tragedies because a lot of the time Hollywood intends to greatly embellish the true story and a good portion of the time these films are not accurate.  It’s also hard to make a news story, especially a tragic news story compelling because it was a story that we all saw on television.  So needless to say I am a cautious man when viewing these kinds of movies.  However after seeing this film, I cannot be more enthusiastic on why people should go out and immediately see this movie.  This was a magnificent film from top to bottom, with an outstanding cast, amazing cinematography and an emotional story that will connect greatly with not only Boston residents but the American people.

“Patriots Day” is led by a fine cast.  Mark Wahlberg delivers what I think is his most emotional performance as Police Officer Tommy Saunders.  Everyone is great here: from J.K. Simmons to Kevin Bacon, the actors really delivered in this film.  The best thing about “Patriots Day” is the structure of the story.  We get these little blips about the characters, enough to why we should care about them.  They aren’t developed completely but we like them, and when something awful happens we really feel it.  The story was thrilling, gripping until the very end.  The use of real-life camera footage and the inclusion of Obama’s speech were really nice touches that blended news footage with film footage, making “Patriots Day” feel incredibly realistic.  There are some hard hitting violent scenes and moments of graphic brutality but the film doesn’t linger on the violence for too long.  The violence was handled perfectly and with care and doesn’t at all feel exploitative.  The drama was real and the action was top notch.  There was humor mixed with sadness.  Peter Berg has crafted what I consider to be his finest film to date.

The only small issue that I had with the movie came near the end of the film.  There was an incredible chase sequence when the FBI are pursuing the bombers and then after a conflict sequence, the film went into a lull.  It kind of slowed the fast paced narrative down too much.  However it picks back up again with Mark Wahlberg’s fine speech on hope and love.  Other than a few moments of sluggish pacing issues in the third act, this movie gave me something that I have not felt in a movie in a while; and that’s the awe of how people come together after a horrific tragedy like the Boston Bombing.  People may say that this film was made too soon from the event, but after seeing the movie I don’t think it was too soon.  Even though the story is about tragedy in America, the ultimate message of the film is hope; staying strong and standing up for your country even when faced in the eye of evil.

“Patriots Day” is the best film of 2017 so far.  And I know it’s not saying much since we’re not even two weeks into the new year, but this movie was absolutely incredible.  This is a powerful film that every American needs to go see.  The acting, the visuals, the storytelling and the gripping drama makes this an incredible experience at the movies.  Most of us know the story, as it only happened a few years back, but to see a full film of the events really puts what happened into perspective.  You will feel for all of these characters and you will constantly be reminded how lucky we are to be American.  “Patriots Day” is a finely crafted piece of cinema and I cannot recommend it enough.

Grade:  A+ 

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