By Ian Crow
After only a mere four years since the incident, Hollywood has decided to make a film about the Boston marathon bombings. I feel that the dust needs to settle before making a film about a sensitive subject, yet the Americans love to make them. I had to admit though; once I saw the trailer I thought the film looked interesting. I did have a feeling in my gut though that I wouldn’t find it gripping at all because I know of the events that ensued, but clearly I didn’t. To say I was shocked at the end of the film was an understatement, Patriots Day really impressed me. As I mentioned, the film is about the Boston marathon bombings, the majority of it though is the events that occurred after the explosions. As the FBI and local law enforcement have to work together to quickly resolve a national crisis, mainly because they don’t know exactly who detonated the bombs and whether they can persuade the general public that Boston is safe.
Packed with an experienced and all-star cast, Patriots Day ticks all the right boxes in terms of casting. Box-Office juggernaut Mark Wahlberg leads the way as Tommy Saunders; a Boston cop guarding the finish line at the marathon quickly becomes Boston’s much loved cops as he does everything in his power to protect his people. Supported by Kevin Bacon, JK Simmonds, John Goodman and Michelle Monaghan, the film balances a great mix of different acting styles and performances to give an excellent blend that really hits the spot. They all give a great performance and deliver what is expected of them. Maybe because the events in the film are still fairly fresh, to give such touching performances is even harder because it’s still so vivid in many people’s memories.
Directed by Peter Berg, the American filmmaker that has improved massively over time delivers yet another impressive film to his repertoire. Berg seems to of shrugged off his stereotypical cheesy action movie flick tag and has really honed in his skills that he possesses and now creates really interesting pieces of film. A really great eye for detail for a great shot, his experience shooting action flicks has benefitted him when working with a tight script. His previous work Deepwater Horizon and Lone Survivor were also examples of how he is improving as a director. There are still little gripes that I have with Berg and that’s his Michael Bay tendency to become extremely patriotic and feel they have to show a waving American flag in the wind in some point of the film. Maybe that is a little bit harsh, but it’s one that isn’t exactly necessary.
The great part about Patriots Day though is how it manages to up the tension and drama after the bombings have happened. As the story continues, the Boston police and the FBI are on a manhunt for two possible suspects. The film follows the two men throughout the film and as the hunt for them continues, the tension and drama really get ramped up for an exciting finale. Overall, Patriots Day surprised me more than anything. Knowing exactly what was going to happen in the film didn’t stop me from finding it highly enjoyable yet glued to a nail-biting finale. A good performance from cast and crew, Patriots Day is a great film to serve as a tribute to the innocent of the Boston marathon bombings. 4 out of 5 stars.