HOLLYWOOD—Hearing about “Patriot’s Day,” at first I had mixed feelings. To be honest, I thought it was just way too soon for Hollywood to be jumping into a movie about a real-life event less than 3 years after it transpired. The Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013 was a brutal moment for many Americans, not just those in Boston. It was an attack on American soil and just further raises questions about terrorism and issues of safety in the public sphere.
However, after watching “Patriot’s Day” it might be one of the most powerful and inspiring films that I’ve seen in 2016. Yes, I’m grouping the movie for 2016, because I know that was its intent to be released in times for awards consideration, too bad, the movie may not receive the accolades it so desperately deserves.
This drama is intense and it grabs your attention right away. Some might question why the movie sets up by introducing the audience to all of these various characters without going into a massive amount of detail. Well, it’s because things come full-circle after the bombing transpires. Mark Wahlberg delivers a powerful performance as Boston Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders. When we first meet Tommy he is on the job, but the movie pokes at the matter that Tommy has ruffled a few feathers within the department. What he actually did isn’t explored, which is a shame, as I think it would have only provided further depth to the character.
Is Wahlberg’s performance Oscar-caliber? I would say not quite considering the level of talent this year, in a weaker year yes, but with the performances out there this year, he misses the mark slightly. Its a powerful performance, but I have indeed seen even stronger from the actor, “The Fighter,” “Lone Survivor” and “Boogie Nights” to name a few. I can’t help, but point out solid performances by Kevin Bacon who portrays FBI agent Richard DesLauriers and John Goodman who portrays Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. They are indeed small roles that have plenty of bite and emotional punch.
What I find so riveting about “Patriot’s Day” is director Peter Berg’s ability to capture the drama in a way that seems effortless. I mean the level of suspense and dread leading up to the actual bombing was palpable; you already KNOW what is going to happen, but just wondering WHEN it will happen and the aftermath of that bombing strikes an emotional cord that is difficult to shake. It is no easy task to create such tension in a movie of this magnitude, and Berg does it with impeccable precision.
Watching this movie delivers a feeling of being proud to be an American, proud to display his or her patriotic attitudes. Yes, one could argue those native to Boston will have an added edge of pride seeing the movie, but I believe anyone who is American, will enjoy this movie. This is a movie about hope, inspiration, faith, love courage and overcoming all odds when they seem unsurmountable in the beginning. Watching the action unfold as the authorities worked AROUND THE CLOCK to pinpoint the suspects, give chase to the suspects, engage in a tense, riveting and edge-of-your seat gun battle is a testament to how powerful cinema can be when done correctly.
My one caveat would be those final moments of the movie that give a portrait of the actual survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing. The movie does such a strong job at capturing these characters; I don’t think it was actually needed. Not that it seemed out of place, it wasn’t needed, but I can understand the filmmakers wanting to pay tribute to these individuals. “Patriot’s Day” should be a blueprint used for other filmmakers who are thinking of tackling real-life situations that have unfolded across American soil, especially those dealing with terrorism.