Film Review – Patriots Day

I haven’t really talked sports on this blog yet and I feel this review would be a good start to talk as it leads right into the review.  If you’re not into sports, skip this paragraph.One day I’d like to visit the city of Boston, enjoy the sites and sounds, and then root for them to lose to whatever Cleveland team they’re facing!  I cannot stand Boston sports and their fans.  I respect them and love their passion but I absolutely root for them to lose at all times, except the Patriots because I actually enjoy watching them play.  When the Cavs or the Indians play them on the road, I get passionate wherever I’m watching them because, whether it’s overexposure by the media or whatever else, their fans and teams are obnoxious.  I went to game 1 of the ALCS at Progressive Field this October and was on cloud 9 as the Indians beat the Red Sox 5-4 and went on to sweep them in the series.  There was one guy at that game who I absolutely despised playing against and that was David Ortiz.  This was the last season for Big Papi and it was very cool to see him live, and lose.  Ortiz will go down as one of the greatest Boston Red Sox players of all time.  Ortiz is also known as a pivotal part of the healing process following the horrific terrorist attacks on April 13th 2013.  After two days of the events and eventual capture of the suspects, Ortiz came out of the dugout of Fenway Park and stood in the middle of the infield to a roaring ovation and said the infamous line “This is our fucking and nobody is going to dictate our freedom.  Stay strong.”  Stay strong turned into the slogan “Boston Strong” and was a reminder of how tough a city Boston is.  This is what is shown in Patriots Day, the resilience of a city to fight hate with love, in a way only Boston could.

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Patriots Day is directed by Peter Berg who has directed Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon, also acclaimed films that I haven’t seen yet and intend on doing.  The last film I saw of Berg was Battleship and is one people plug their nose to but I happen to like as a guilty pleasure (review to come at some point).  Berg also got Mark Wahlberg to be the lead in this film as he was in his previous two films.  Wahlberg plays officer Sgt. Tommy Saunders who is actually a fictional character created for the film as other characters played their real life counterpart of the events.  Saunders was suspended for reasons unknown and is working his way back into the good graces of the Boston PD.  One of his final tasks is to patrol the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  What seems to be an ordinary day turned into what we now know as the Boston Marathon bombing.  Saunders has the extraordinary task of dealing with assisting the victims in the carnage and working with the FBI, all while having a bum knee and constantly limping through everywhere he goes.  Suddenly we see the gravity of this event as the police commisioner Ed Davis, played by John Goodman, Governor Deval Patrick, played by Michael Beach, and FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, played by Kevin Bacon, all arrive at the scene of the attack.  There is a scene with Bacon and Goodman that I really enjoyed where they are having an argument on how to handle the media with the supsects and both points of view are reasonable and understanding but the two can’t see that.  The film does do a very good job in introducing the characters and giving most of them layers.  It also introduces characters early on that don’t intersect with the situation until later and I felt that was well done and helpful through the film.

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One of the most haunting things I’ll take from the film was how “White Hat” terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, played by Alex Wolff, came off.  Tsarnaev was played as a typical 19 year old with this mannerisms of how he talked and acted but he was also a cold and unsympathetic he was during his actions.  At one point after murdering a police officer in cold blood, he and his brother Tamelan, played by Themo Melikidze, carjack a car and driver and Dzhokhar asks the hostage if his car can charge his iPhone.  The manhunt for the Tsarnaev’s lead to the shootout in Watertown and Seargeant Jeffery Pugliese, played by J.K. Simmons, and his unit assist in the effort.  Simmons has a great scene when he arrives to help out and the shootout, for as brutal and tense it was, had a lot of humor with one of the residents actually tossing a sledgehammer out to help the officers “get those motherfuckers”.

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I really enjoyed Patriots Day and the way it was directed.  Wahlberg was very good as the lead and had many good supporting performances around them.  There were plenty of other good minor performances in this film that I liked as well.  It took subject material that was real and raw only 3 years after the events and told a respectful uplifting story of the resilience of the human spirit through adversity.

 

Patriots Day gets a 9/10

 

 

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