On April 15, 2013 Boston, Massachusetts, Police Sgt, Tommy Saunders is pulling security duty on the annual Boston Marathon when the Tsarnaev brothers strike with their homemade bombs in an act of terrorism. In the resulting chaos as the wounded are cared for, Saunders and his comrades join forces with the FBI to get to the bottom of this attack. As the investigation continues, the Tsarnaev brothers realize that the authorities are close to identifying them and attempt to flee the city to continue their fanatical mayhem. To stop them, a police manhunt is performed that would have bloody confrontations and a massive dragnet shutting down the City of Boston to make sure there is no escape from the law.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
People are captivated by the extraordinary events. And people love to be entertained. So what could possibly be better than a dramatic story of extraordinary nature. Especially if it's based on real events, shows the heroism of simple people and touches the audience's sensitive patriotic spot.
That's basically a recipe for Patriots Day. Take the case of the Boston Marathon bombing, the largest terrorist attack in the US since 9/11, show it through the eyes of several regular people, first introducing their personal lives and then following them along the course of the main events. And finally, when it's all over, add some first-person moral lessons and conclusions, so that we all realize for sure how important and pivotal that event was for the people and for the world, and feel privy to its changing momentum.
All by itself, it's a pretty good, even noble approach. But there's a tiny little detail that changes everything: that all that must sell somehow, because even the extraordinary stories have to be entertaining. So the otherwise consistent and self-sufficient story is being infused with dramatization, laying it on even thicker where it's already been thick, and creating moments that might not have been there in the first place simply to make the story more of a thriller. A very similar thing happened just recently with Deepwater Horizon.
The result becomes a product with the typical Hollywood spin, but proudly called "based on real events". That it might be, but on the basis of real people's actions, beliefs and lives there has been put enough creative imagination for the film to feel at times fake, at times cheesy and at times way over the top. And we will never know for sure if some or other moments that touched each of us personally happened for real, or they were skillfully injected by the filmmakers to genetically modify the movie and make it more appealing to the audience. Having fallen for this trick before, I refuse to be bought so cheaply again. So I really wish movies such as Patriots Day were made as documentaries. Yes, maybe they wouldn't sell as much, but at least they would be sincere and true. And what if not truth and sincerity do such stories try to uphold?
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