Movie Review – “Patriots Day”

“The real star of “Patriots Day” is the city of Boston.” 

Patrick King, REEL BRIEF

No one, right now in Hollywood, is sharper at crafting heroic true-life stories onto the big-screen than Clint Eastwood or Peter Berg. Both directors have powerfully depicted ordinary people doing extraordinary acts of bravery.  Each visionary storyteller so keen at providing a deep history behind actual events that viewer blood pressure gets elevated as one’s overall fingernail length is nervously reduced. Eastwood’s tributes have shined bright with his “Letters from Iwo Jima”, “American Sniper” and “Sully” under his watchful eye. Whereas Berg’s game has been raised of late with his own heart-racing true tales: “Lone Survivor”, “Deepwater Horizon” and now “Patriots Day”. All chaotic films and, at times, funny—but each a rather large truth tablet for moviegoers to swallow in their willingness to learn more.

Based upon the book “Boston Strong: A City’s Triumph over Tragedy”, this film focuses on the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist bombings and the ensuing massive federal, state and local inter-agency investigation. The real star of “Patriots Day” is the city of Boston. As evidenced by Mark Wahlberg’s role as a police sergeant molded into a compilation of nearly 20 Boston Police Department officers, his character the dedicated face of many—as well as the key thread woven into the film’s chilling manhunt fabric.

Roman philosopher Seneca once scribed that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Nothing demonstrates our post-9/11 world and lessons learned more graphically than Boston’s coordinated, fast-paced and lethal investigative response to an attack during their 117th annual race. To see that city’s first-responders and medical personnel react in the same manner as their New York City brothers and sisters in September of 2001, is both awe-inspiring and heartwarming.

“Patriots Day” with Kevin Bacon, Mark Wahlberg and John Goodman.

Capturing the numerous lives affected by those twin blasts near the finish line, “Patriots Day” leaves us with a better understanding of the dangerous world we live in and more thankful for the people charged with responding to those dangers.  From the fire, police and military racing towards the explosive epicenters, doctors and nurses making life and limb decisions at surrounding hospitals, and heads-up Bostonians reporting tidbits of information, “Patriots Day” underscores the city’s strength, readiness and resolve that brought swift justice to a pair of sinister culprits wearing a “black hat” and “white hat”.  Aside from the stellar job by Wahlberg representing Boston PD, “Patriot Day” shows off a collaborative team effort by law enforcement sleuths that use their combined expertise and skillsets in a successful manner that resembles a U.S. military special operations unit in its efficiency, order, and lethality.

Even knowing the eventual outcome to this true narrative, viewers will find the background stories on the real bombing victims, law enforcement officers and terrorists fascinating–yet heartbreaking–to watch unfold. But everyone should see “Patriots Day” because that will help keep America Strong.  And ready.

Grade: A

“Patriots Day” is rated R for violence, realistically graphic images of injury images, language throughout and some drug use.  Its running time is 2 hours and 10 minutes.

© 2017, Patrick. All rights reserved.

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"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office".   - Judy O.

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