Patriots Day in an emotional thriller that is compelling to see on screen. Most of the characters in the film are actual survivors or police officers involved in the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013. John Goodman plays Commissioner Ed Davis, J.K. Simmons plays Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese, Michael Beach as Governor Deval Patrick, and Kevin Bacon is Special Agent Richard DesLauriers. All of the men do a tremendous job in the film, but a bigger connection was made with victims of the bombing.
Patriots Day is compelling
Director Peter Berg does an excellent job of weaving the back stories of the various people into the film. The opening introduces a lot of characters and their involvement in the bigger story is unclear until the story unfolds. It makes the emotional elements of the film land extremely hard like a punch to the gut. Patrick Downes (Christopher O’Shea) and his wife, Jessica Kensky (Rachel Brosnahan), are excellent and earn the compassion of the audience. Jimmy O. Yang playing Dun Meng who ends up having a major role that initially seemed like an odd component in the story. He was very disconnected from the main arc, but his earlier clips really make the later ones work.
Mark Wahlberg’s character, Tommy Saunders, is a combination of actual detectives and is the main character. His performance is solid and there is clearly genuine love put into this film. He shares the screen time for the most part, but his character does get the major moments. It is hard to understand how his character fits into some of the situations of the film as the manhunt leaves what would have been the Boston Police Department’s jurisdiction. Yet, Wahlberg is there to be involved with those key moments. However, he does have two very emotional scenes that he executes very well.
Stay till the credits roll
The film includes a very emotional series of interviews with the actual survivors and officers from Boston. It’s definitely something to see and should be expanded into a documentary. With that idea in mind, Berg did opt to use actual security footage, photos, and phone videos when possible. Those images mixed with the film during the explosions was very traumatizing. Definitely an effective film, but with some questionable choices.
Patriots Day is an engaging film that hits the right emotions. However, it did feel a little long and knowing that Wahlberg’s character isn’t an actual person is jarring. It seems that if his character had been cut some of the time could have been trimmed, but at the cost of two powerful scenes as well. The film does what it sets out to do and reminds the audience that love and compassion can conquer terror. Patriots Day is Boston strong and earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.