Film of the Day (02/27/19): Patriot’s Day

 

Written By Peter Berg and Matt Cook and Joshua Zetumer
Directed By Peter Berg

This was one hell of a movie. As I stated a week ago after seeing Deepwater Horizon, director Peter Berg is very good at retelling real, gritty stories. This may be his finest example yet, taking something will forever be burned into our memories and restaging the entire five day in painstaking detail, zigzagging between all of the forces in play. His usual tricks are here, with frequent cutting and constant handheld camera movements creating a sense of organized chaos as we search the frame for the action. The cast is great (including perennial all stars J.K. Simmons and John Goodman), and everyone is up to the challenge of paying tribute to the everyday people affected by and solving this horrible tragedy without ever feeling exploitative. There are no cheap thrills, just a harrowing sense of realism and relentless tension running throughout the bombing, aftermath and ensuing manhunt. One issue I had was that I wished a bit of time had been spent on the larger implications of the methodology behind the manhunt. Our willingness to trade freedom for feeling safe is a mine that could be explored in depth in a fictional story, but it certainly could have been addressed a bit here. Additionally, for as good as Wahlberg was in the lead role, he came off as the same rapid fire Boston hothead he has played so many times in the past. That said, he was a very good choice to portray the Boston Strong attitude that was so prevalent after the attacks. The film makes terrific use of real images and videos from that day, cutting seamlessly to those shots whenever necessary and never losing any sense of continuity. The film closes with the real people who suffered and saved that day, and the result is effective and powerful. This is a very good film that capitalizes on a strong cast and pays fitting tribute to a dark day and its silver lining.

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