The movie plays exactly like a made-for-TV movie. It follows the formula to a tee. Peter Berg has done a lot of TV work so it makes sense.
Virtually the whole movie was done with hand-held cameras which ensures a jittery constantly moving picture with the exception of the countless aerial shots of Boston. That's really lazy.. The music is a perfect blueprint for the music that is played on TV documentary to unnecessarily boost drama. Again Berg has done a lot of documentaries, so again it makes sense.
There is one preachy scene with Wahlberg on the tailgate of a truck that actually made me roll my eyes.. I thought really? Can it be more contrived?
John Goodman's character didn't really have anything to do..
J.K. Simmons character is aloof and mostly uninterested and has one of the more ridiculous scenes in the movie.
Michelle Monaghan really didn't have a part either.
The performances were good, and I love these actors. But there is some big talent wasted on parts that anyone could have played and we wouldn't have noticed.
The movie pays tribute to law enforcement, but until the end, they are made to look pretty incompetent and at times, witless. I couldn't understand how that characterization was allowed given the purpose of the movie. It was puzzling.
The tribute to the actual victims was very nice. I certainly felt for those people.