MOVIE REVIEW: Patriots Day

Peter Berg writes and directs the events of the Boston Marathon Bombing from 2013.  On just a normal Patriots Day, the day that the Boston Marathon brings together the city, two extremists decide to set explosives and destroy the lives of many innocent people.  Patriots Day brings the before and after events to us as the authorities, citizens, and bombers live through the events.

I never understand terrorism, I guess that no one truly understands it.  I don’t get that the men and women involved train like soldiers for a war that they feel is necessary only to strike like cowards.  We’ve had our share of terrorism here in Ireland, and the phrase one man’s terrorist is one man’s freedom fighter, well that was something we grew up with.  This new century has ended pretty much our terrorism story here, but it has given birth to a more violent and horrific form.  It’s a scary time to be alive and live in a country where freedom of religion, expression, and love is taken for granted.  These new low life scumbags posing as terrorists want to end that, that is clear.

What I love about Peter Berg movies is the quickness that he gets you to care about the characters, he did the same with Deepwater Horizon, but there is this effortless and instant liking or disliking for the characters.  You know who you’re meant to like and hate in the quickest way possible.  This trait of his films is something that is missing greatly in modern American cinema.  I can’t tell you the amount of movies I watch where you are meant to care for the characters and yet when whatever force is planning to kill them or destroy their lives gets close you just don’t care.  That is not the case here as Berg and cast drag you straight into the events of that horrible day.  Before the race starts we get to know the civilians who want to live through the day in peace, the Police who have to make sure everyone goes home safely, and the scumbags who planned and carried out the terror. 

The film mixes through the real authentic footage of the day that our world is covered by now and the dramatic footage that Berg co wrote.  It’s also a credit to the Director and the Casting people how they matched perfectly the stars like John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, and J.K. Simmons with the real life people who helped to catch the cowardly killers.

The film is powerful in the way that it presents the true nature of Americans, I saw this from the short time I lived there, yes they have their differences, yes there are many social and economic problems, racial problems.  But when something happens like this everyone comes together to show that they are one nation.

The film is slow to start, but that’s the character building that Berg does so well, when the bombs go off everything goes from zero to ninety miles hour in the blink of an eye.  Then we have the hunt for the terrorists which takes us to a scary level of realism.  The kidnapping of a young Chinese businessman on their way to New York, the attempted robbery of a gun from a MIT Police Officer, and their firefight with the police of a small town, and the college friends of one of the bombers that hid evidence rather than exposing their drug use, these factors of the story would have been overlooked by a few other film makers but all add to the tapestry of Patriots Day.  The ending of the film, which interviews the survivors and responders, was uplifting and showed the true Bostonian spirit that we all have seen from them in the past.  Live free, live happy, and never let hate win, that annoys these terrorists more than anything else.

Peace and love!

Director: Peter Berg
Writers: Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons


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