Patriots Day review
One question I get a lot from my family that only sees me every so often is, “when are you gonna get married and have some children?”. The marriage question is more of a matter of finding the right person, in which only time has been a barrier. The kids question is more of a moral issue. While I would eventually like to have a little one running around, I’d just prefer to not do it in the world were currently living in. It doesn’t have to do anything with politics, but rather safety. It sickens me that were forced to cope with an environment where madmen could set off catastrophic events.
The past ten years have been difficult with the shootings in Orlando, Paris, and San Bernardino not to mention the constant use of excessive force from police officers putting a lot of fear over the use of guns. Things took another turn when in 2013 during the Boston Marathon, two bombs were detonated, injuring and killing several runners and bystanders. This has all been in the name of the terrorist group ISIS which remains one the nations biggest threats. The story of Boston is recounted in Patriots Day.
Sergeant Tommy Saunders (played by Mark Wahlberg) was one of many police officers that were assigned to the Boston Marathon finish line. As history has revealed, two explosions ruin what was supposed to be a typical fun day for the city. Clearly never expecting such an atrocity, Boston freezes in terror while trying to make the first move to help as many of the injured as possible. Police Commissioner Ed Davis (played by John Goodman) and Mayor Thomas Menino (played by Vincent Curatola) make the decision to rule the event a terrorist attack when the first pieces of evidence are collected.
In the shadows, bombers Dzhokhar and Tasmerlan Tsarnaev are making plans to set up their next target somewhere in New York City. In this process, they are trying to cover any tracks they’ve created, trying to get rid of any connection.
The investigation quickly becomes an FBI and homeland security investigation when Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (played by Kevin Bacon) arrives to take charge. While all parties are trying to act according to plan to catch the bombers, there is clearly a feeling of intrusion with the government trying to do everything when the local police feel like they’re capable of finding the culprits.
What’s interesting is that director Peter Berg directed another American tragedy story last year with Deepwater Horizon. Both also had actor Mark Wahlberg as the lead. The two must be good friends if both tend to continue making these kinds of movies. That is no way a bad thing, as Patriots Day is still a good movie, possibly better then Deepwater Horizon. It’s biggest strength is that the movie is more focused on the investigation then it is on the tragic events. It could have been easy to put all the attention there and make it a weep-fest.
Peter Berg made the decision craft the event into something cinematic in the style of several stories being told over the days unfolding after the bombing. The downside is that certain plots, like one of a father searching for his child and a couple separated by hospitals, tend to be halted in favor of the main character or the bombers. Either more time was needed to develop some of these victims or they should have gotten their own movies. I’m glad I saw this for the elements I did enjoy, like Mark Wahlberg and it’s CSI-like tone.
I’ll give this four Boston Marathon shoes out of five. If not fully interesting throughout, it at least has a lot of good things that make it hard to not recommend this movie. I’ll say right up that while they do show the bombers Muslim religion, it’s not that offensive. This is a movie the knows it’s audience; middle class Americans that’ll want more of an enjoyable tribute to Boston’s dedication then a psychological look into the tragedy. There’s nothing wrong with that, so take it for what is is and see if you’ll run with it.