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PPs (police procedurals) are a staple of the film/TV industry and are
(believe it or not) as common as comedies or romcoms. However, within
that category, "big" PPs based on big crimes are not that common. In
fact, you would have to go back to the early 70s when a number of "big
PPs" like Day of the Jackal 1973 were all the rage.
So, a film like this done properly (and, trust me, this one is done perfectly) would be a treat all by itself. However, what makes this film extra-special is the extensive use of video footage.
Now, to be clear, video footage as a plot device is not new by itself. It is now, and has been used extensively in British film and TV because, as we all know, London is the most "surveyed" city on the planet.
But -- the point -- nothing the Brits have ever done with the forensic use of video comes even close to what Berg brings us in this excellent film. Much the same way that the original creators of CSI-Vegas introduced an entirely new sort of sub-genre, it can be argued that Patriots Day similarly has taken the police procedural to an entirely new level.
The film itself? Brilliant! Berg has taken a stellar group of A-listers and make them work as a team, mirroring on the subliminal level the theme of the movie, which is both positive, and hopeful, and suggests that if we all work together, we can accomplish pretty much anything.
I saw this movie at a preview showing and was very pleasantly
The movie is great, the cast are uniformly excellent, and the plot moves along really nicely. I was mesmerized throughout, the pacing was excellent and, even though we all remember the outcome from the extensive news coverage, I was surprised at some of the things that happened before the end.
It was surprisingly moving at a few points, sorry, no spoilers so I won't say any more.
Great job to everyone who worked on this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Patriot's Day is a a fairly routine by-the-numbers drama about the
Boston Marathon bombings and the hunt for the two brothers.
Unfortunately, instead of a docudrama giving us an inside look at the
important political and LE players and the decisions made, the film
focuses on Whalberg's fictional, composite character and he drags the
movie down. Whalberg's "Tommy Saunders" is a fairly unlikable
character. He's facing suspension, has a bad attitude, and hobbles
around on an injured leg. Every time he came on screen the film lost
momentum as it took the focus away from the really important decision
The film's run-time definitely seems padded with unnecessary scenes showing us the victims' mundane lives before the bombings and the domestic bliss and/or squabbles of the fictional Tommy Saunders and other law enforcement. There were only two sequences in the film that I found gripping. One was the carjacking/kidnapping and eventual escape by the Chinese man. I didn't recall that part of the event and I was genuinely concerned for and cared about the young man. The other sequence that stood out was the interrogation of the wife. It was dramatically underplayed and the tension was palpable. The film would have been better served had it concentrated on these types of realistic scenes and simply cast top-quality character actors instead of a top star that required extensive time in front of the camera. Love Mark Whalberg but he was totally unnecessary and actually a hindrance in this movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie comes out at awards season as an apparent surprise contender
for the Oscars. It certainly had the source material and some substance
to work with. So I went in hoping to be a believer.
This is a movie that gets mixed reviews: it's both good and bad.
The good is the fine direction and staging of the events that occurred. They were done with keen attention to detail and impressive accuracy to how the events transpired. Therefore, it makes for an effective action movie and thriller. It also does an effective job holding your attention, building suspense, and feeling for the unfortunate victims of the tragedy and carnage that occurred.
But the film falls short of greatness and even short of being anything special for the genre, a genre that most recently includes much better films like Zero Dark Thirty. These are basically recent manhunt movies for terrorists in events that only took place within three to five years ago before their release. Other examples are United 93 and to some extent, World Trade Center.
So don't go in expecting a masterpiece or anything mind blowing. However, it is a decent movie.
It does many things right but also many wrong. While it was nice to acknowledge the pride for the Boston PD and LE heroes involved in succeeding in solving the case, that alone isn't enough to make a movie great, obviously due to technicalities and all the other filmmaking aspects.
Wahlberg, while a likable guy trying his best, sort of was a distraction and not well cast as an imaginary Boston cop who was there that day and helped investigate the case. He's "okay" in the role, but a better character actor wouldn't have been as much of a distraction and probably more believable.
Then there's the long drawn out real life interviews at the end. There's a few movies with these this year, but they only show a handful of real life clips or summaries of "what happened to...". This one has several minutes of real life interviews and interviewees, from survivors to police officers to politicians and others involved, and it's just all over the place. It came off as amateur overall even though it was nice to hear from the survivors. It was just way too long and awkward for a feature film.
Last but not least, while realism was one of the film's biggest strengths as far as how events happened and their staging, including accurate depictions and casting for the Tsarnaev brothers and streets of Watertown the final showdown took place, I was hoping that if they went as far as to create a fictitious character in Wahlberg that they also might be bold and daring enough to tie in an alternative ending for Tamerlan; on the night it happened, live news video showed a naked handcuffed young man being escorted by LE and the reporter claimed that was the suspect and he was in custody (you can even look it up on YouTube- it looks identical to him), and an outside observer can put 2 and 2 together and at least picture and theorize that the PD killed him. Instead, they went with the recorded story that Dzokhar, his brother, ran him over. Of course it would have been controversial and might have led to possible backlash from many arenas, but that would have been compelling. Like I said, if they're going to make up a main character, why not add a surprise twist that may have very well happened according to video footage of the news to people who watched that night. Instead, it came off just a tad predictable.
Overall, though, it was a pretty decent movie.
(no spoilers- vague summary) I first saw the trailer for this movie while in the theatre for another, and let me say, it looked terrible. The trailer made it look like the movie was going to be another clichéd battle of "good vs evil." I decided to give this movie a chance after a friend absolutely raved about it, and I'm glad I did. The movie's main character is a Boston police officer played by Wahlberg who kind of just happens to be in the middle of the action all the time. The director makes it work and he doesn't feel overused thanks to the scenes starring the other characters experiences. The scenes of the two bombers in their house with the wife and kid really humanize them, and it was really interesting to see them go from two seemingly normal brothers to two people obsessed with murder. I liked how the movie didn't go straight to racism for the motives of the brothers but instead made it personal for them. The movie plays out really nicely with no lulls in the action and no fluff scenes; they also use actual footage from that day in Boston that really bring the story together and solidify just how horrific it was. There are scenes that were extremely intense and had me really attached to characters, there were scenes where I was thirsting for blood, there were scenes that made me sob, and there were even a few that made me laugh. Overall, 9/10: amazing movie.
The Film "Patriots Day (2016)" is a tragic but true story that creates
a seamless flow of real time and Re-enacted footage of the terrorist
attack on Boston, which occurred on the 14th of April, 2013.
The Acting was A-class (as expected) with the big names that came with it (Wahlberg, Goodman, Bacon, Monaghan and so on). The character relationships integrated well, you can feel the somewhat strained bonds between them and that adds to the emotions of the film experience. The action scenes were brilliantly executed with a "natural and realistic" feel too them which gave the films intensity.
As someone who isn't from Boston nor the U.S, watching this film gave great clarity and depth to the events that occurred. This effect gives total props to the Director Peter Berg (Lone Survivor) and his co-writer Matt Cook (Triple 9)
The final 10 minutes made the film all the more better and filled with emotional that tied the film in a special way (I'll let you see for your self!).
However.... My initial thoughts were to question the necessity of the film. The events occurred not even 4 years ago, was it too soon? Was it completely necessary to convert to film? However since watching, this thought has yet to bother me again.
Overall.. The resilience, strengths and unity among man/women was shown throughout this film, even in a time of crisis. This shows, that even when times are tough we can still band together as a society to help our fellow man and counter the destruction of terrorism.
Great Film: 8/10
Greetings again from the darkness. Is it too soon? If not, is it too
painful to revisit? Even if the time is right, is injecting a
fictitious supercop into the horrific events an acceptable approach?
Every viewer of the film will have their own answers to these
questions, but clearly writer/director Peter Berg (Deepwater Horizon,
Lone Survivor) and Boston area native Mark Wahlberg believed now is the
time and that this is the best way to re-create this catastrophe and
Wahlberg plays Tommy Saunders, a Boston detective kicked back to uniform duty as penance for a run-in with another cop. His character is evidently a composite of multiple cops and first responders, and though he is the center of the film, the character is the weak link. He's some type of supercop who never sleeps and manages to be literally everywhere something is happening either the Boston Marathon finish line, FBI control center, the hospital interviewing survivors, or cruising the streets with his spotlight tracking down the bad guys.
Beyond Wahlberg's character, the film does a remarkable job at re-creating the tragic events, the emotional and physical fallout, and the urgent law enforcement manhunt. Since it's been less than 4 years, most every piece of this is fresh in our minds. We follow along from when the street cameras are used to identify the suspects all the way through the final capture from the backyard boat.
Another thing the film does well is tell the stories of certain individuals who were impacted. We experience the emotions of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), the preparedness and cool of Watertown Police Chief Jeffrey Pugliese (JK Simmons), the highs and lows of MIT Officer Sean Collier (Jake Picking), the terror and courage of captive Dun Meng (Jimmy O Yang), and the focus and conflicts of Governor Deval Patrick (Michael Beach) and FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon). There is also the story of survivors Jessica Kensky (Rachel Brosnahan) and Christopher O'Shea (Patrick Downes), and a few others who we get to know a little bit.
The bombers/terrorists/brothers are played by Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze, and no effort is made to sympathize or explain their actions. The closest we get is an argument in the apartment with the wife (played by Melissa Benoist) over the wrong type of milk. I will not use the real names here as I don't believe in providing any publicity for such creators of evil.
The film successfully establishes the "normal" start to what seemed to be a "normal" day. Of course, April 13 2013 turned out to be anything but. We hear the Newtown tribute at the opening of the race, and we see David Ortiz with his color proclamation at Fenway Park. The music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is always spot on with the mood, and the last 10 minutes are by far the most emotional we hear from the real life survivors, first responders and others so crucial to that time. I may believe that this story would best be told in documentary form, but there is no denying that it's a reminder of the power of love, and the spirit of Boston and America.
Patriots Day recounts the horrifying bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon with great care for the details: the chaotic confusion, the shocking violence, the individual personhood of those affected, even the necessary moments of levity. On the other hand, it's also very Hollywood: the passionate speeches about terrorism, the well-meaning proselytizing about down-home patriotism, even a potentially dangerous representation of Muslims. With a message about communal-love-overcoming-hate that's never fully realized, its thematically desperate American milquetoast. However, it's well-made thematically desperate American milquetoast, and sometimes that's good enough. Director Berg (last year's fantastic Deepwater Horizon) is an undeniably talented stylist. His cinema verite camera fits his modern historical dramas well, especially here, when seamlessly mixed with the staggering documentary footage. The R-rating gives him the necessary space to allow the effective action and authentic language to carry the intended naturalism. Unfortunately, for all the reality in the engaging and human thrills (especially during the manhunt), we're bombarded with some super lame dialogue full of exposition & preachifying, leaving us feeling talked at instead of engaged with. This dramatic opportunism can often be the inherent difficulty with dramatizing such recent, well-known history. We bring our own fresh memories, political leanings, and personal feelings to each moment, making our criticism more vehement. To Berg's credit, he mostly sidesteps the bigger problems of this sub-genre by focusing on multiple specific characters directly affected by the tragedy. So while its aims to reach wide left the film feeling shallow, Patriots Day's procedural suspense & refreshing flow of the story make this a movie worth taking your dad to.
Peter Berg has always been an iffy scattered genre director - he can
churn out popcorn throwaway entertainers like Battleship (2012) and The
Rundown (2003), wayward routine action-ers like Hancock (2008) and The
Kingdom (2007), but his last two movies Lone Survivor (2013) and
Deepwater Horizon (2016) have seen him delve into fact-based stories of
heroism. Through his last two films, one can easily notice Berg honing
his skills and with Patriots Day he has gotten it right. The learning
curve is evident in that he has learned to dial down that American #1
jingoistic histrionics and is finally able to achieve the fine balance
between connecting with the audience on a deeper level and succeeding
as pure adrenaline entertainment.
Patriots Day deconstructs the events of the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013 and the ensuing manhunt for the terrorists in a stone-cold adrenaline pumping fashion. The docudrama opens with an unrelated problematic arrest in which Saunders busts his knee and we get a quick introduction of our titular salt-of-the-earth fictional cop and we see the initial traumatic events through his eyes. We are quickly and efficiently given introductions to all the important players and the peripheral ones, including the terrorists that will feature in the story. All in all we are just given enough to show us that everyone has something to live for., nothing feels jackhammered into our brains. The opening act is one crisply edited and vividly crafted segment of economical story construction.
After the explosions, the movie wastes no time in moving into police procedural trajectory and this is when it hits heart-parked-in-your-mouth territory. There are so many scenes that are gems here - Saunders walking a reconstruction of the crime scene, an escape from a car-jacking, a spine-chilling interrogation, the gun-fight showdown at a residential street. Berg never glamourises any party and simply lays out the facts in linear form with time stamps. The movie recreates the events faithfully with the cloying melodrama wisely dialled down and the light never fails to shine down on the people of Boston, the real heroes of the tragedy.
Throughout the movie, it remains respectful to the victims and the law enforcement agencies involved and celebrates their consummated efforts in apprehending the terrorists. Berg never presses the exploitative button and that immediately makes the movie memorable. Every individual feels like real human beings with authentic sensitivities and moral stakes. He has found his niche and he is revelling in a genre that seldom offers surprises and few have done as well.
"Patriot's Day" is an efficient little thriller that recreates the
events of April 15, 2013, when the Tsarnaev brothers detonated two
bombs during the Boston Marathon. Mark Wahlberg stars as a police
officer, but there is really no main character in this movie. It is
more of a docudrama, moving from event to event, from one person
affected by the bomb to the next. We are introduced to, and spend a few
minutes with each of the victims, police officers, FBI agents, and
unidentified interrogators. We visit in the Tsarnaev home previous to
the bombing. We watch as the governor ponders the decision to shut the
city down. We watch police go from house to house in Watertown, seeking
It's all very suspenseful and interesting but the film made no lasting impact on me. "Patriot's Day" never takes any of the risks that might propel it into the territory of memorable art. It takes virtually no stand on the many questions this bombing prompts us to ask. The Tsarnaev family were immigrants. They applied for political asylum. They were, for all intents and purposes, Muslim refugees, though they were never given the "refugee" designation.
There is a debate going on around the world right now about what to do about Muslim refugees from war-torn regions, and whether or not taking in Muslim refugees is safe for the receiving country. "Patriot's Day" goes nowhere near this question.
There is also a debate about what to do about terrorists' family members. Noor Salman, the wife of the Orlando terrorist, was arrested on January 16, 2017. What about Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlane Tsarnaev? Before the bombing, Russell performed a google search of the rewards Islam offers to the wife of a dead Muslim terrorist. This is mentioned in the film. Russell is shown living in the same tiny apartment with the brothers, where they prepared the bomb. The film implies that she was aware of their plans. She is free and no charges have been brought against her.
The film depicts Russell being interrogated by a woman in a hijab. The suggestion is that America needs good Muslims to fight bad Muslims. In any case, the interrogator gets nothing out of Russell.
In addition to following police officers and other first responders, the film also follows the victims. The viewer is given a brief intro to young lovers whose legs must be amputated. Eight-year-old Catholic schoolboy Martin Richard was the youngest victim. The film does not show him alive. We see, rather, a cloth covering a very small body. We see the cloth rippling in the wind, and a police officer standing guard over the body till investigators can address the corpse without disturbing evidence. In fact the bomb tore Martin's little body apart. The damage was described at the trial. Martin Richard's beautiful face, in a photograph radiating young life, innocence and hope, is shown on screen after the film concludes.
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