By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Mild Spoiler Alert
Patriots Day is one of those dramatic tales about human resilience and when it’s based on the days leading up to and following The Boston Marathon Bombing from April 15, 2013, the action is certainly no Independence Day, ala Will Smith. The tension is high and like a rubber band waiting to be released, we are waiting for that unsettling moment to take place and are in for a ride as viewers follow the aftermath. I’m sure this movie was tough to watch for those who were there to experience the events firsthand. To see a metropolis in lock down, turned into a ghost town because martial law was declared, is a look into how America responds to terrorism.
To watch CSI on the big screen is far more interesting than the television show mostly because not a lot of crime dramas grab me. This movie caught my attention because of the ensemble cast to whom I know more about their work in the comic book/summer blockbuster front. The story by Peter Berg (who also directed), Matt Cook, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson did a great job at pulling me into the tale and never letting go. The story delved into multiple perspectives and it came together into one nicely threaded story with a resounding theme.
While some lives were more directly affected than others and as for how much was overdramatized, only the folks who were there can tell you.
This film does not capitalize on the grief. It shows how the community came together to find the terrorists. I wanted to know more about their motives but that would have led to speculation in the writing team’s part. Their reasonings felt paper thin and the connections to 9/11 were typical conspiracy ideas UFO enthusiasts might embrace.
Mark Wahlberg leads the ensemble cast which includes John Goodman, J.K. Simmons and Melissa Benoit. The comic book connections were most likely unintentional but I enjoyed seeing them play roles opposite the types they are better known for. Benoit is wonderfully perky in CW’s Supergirl. In this film, she played the wife of terrorist Tamerian (Themo Melikidze) with an air to show she can play serious parts. I wanted to see more of Simmons; ever since Whiplash, I rarely get reminded that he embodied everything I adored about J. Jonah Jameson, editor of the Daily Bugle from the Spider-Man comics. The cigar he was smoking may have been a nod to those in the know. These days, it is hard not to see a performer’s filmography a work from a comic based or pop culture product.
The ultimate win for this movie is in how successful it balances all these individual characters story. Some of them meet, and others do not. But for why America needs to remember this incident, it’s to show the world how this country can fight back if provoked. However people want to interpret actions behind the United States of America entry into World War II , that was a fight which ended fairly quick when this country’s military might decided to drop two nuclear bombs in Japan. Because the complex socio-political milieu of the world saw Nazi Germany as the instigator for all the global events, not every injustice was addressed. The world did react, but was all the trials that followed afterwards include everyone charged with mass murder? This film leaves viewers with a similar food for thought, as three people were involved and the female member never acknowledged or denied her role because she was nearby when Tamerian was planning this act of terrorism.
4 Stars out of 5