When a movie is based on a tragic event such as the Boston Marathon bombing, it makes it hard for me as a reviewer to remain objective.
The biggest hurdle compared to reviewing fictional movies is that you’re dealing with real people and their stories.
In Patriots Day director Peter Berg has created an entertaining story while still making it true to life.
Based on the real accounts of police Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Wahlberg), Special Agent Richard Deslauriers (Bacon), Police Commissioner Ed Davis (Goodman), Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (Simmons) and Nurse Carol Saunders (Monaghan), Patriots Day takes you through a blow-by-blow account of the bombing, and how the Boston police went about nabbing the bombers.
Initially, when the film introduced the different characters on the morning of the bombing, I had to constantly remind myself that these were real people. Normally, when I see characters that are overly optimistic it makes me cringe. However, since these are real people it did change my perception of their optimism.
The acting, in general, is good. Not only do most the actors have authentic Boston accents, but they also give heartbreaking performances.
Mark Wahlberg in particular portrays Sergeant Tommy Saunders with such vigour that, when he finally breaks down, it touches your soul.
Berg chose to depict the true horror of the bombing. If you are squeamish I suggest you stay away.
One of the film’s few flaws is the pacing. There are times when it seems to be dragging from plot point to plot point – the slower scenes do break the flow of the film.
The screenwriters could easily have been lazy and littered this movie with clichés. Instead, they opted for realistic dialogue and expertly inserted humour to provide levity when the film gets very serious and heavy.
The mood shifts created by the cinematography are also pretty spectacular.
Overall, Patriots Day succeeds in accurately portraying what happened during the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath. It also gives a glimmer of hope for the American people, Trump at the helm.
You will be reaching for the tissues, especially at the end when we see the real people involved.