Patriots’ Day is a 5 Star film from it’s opening scenes to the credit roll, Director Peter Berg delivers a perfectly paced thriller about April 19, 2013, the day of the Boston Marathon when 2 terrorists set off bombs on the crowded streets, murdering, mutilating and wounding its people. Berg outperforms Lonesome Survivor (2013) and Deepwater Horizon (2016) drawing deeper emotions for those whose courage saved lives and showed strength in unity. At times I didn’t know whether to cheer or cry as I watched first responders challenged by human emotions of sorrow, pain and the call to action.
Character development goes a long way in this violent type of film. Unlike Titanic, where I didn’t really care who fell off the boat, Berg has me believing I’m somehow related to these officers and bystanders. Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K Simmons) bringing his wife a blueberry muffin for breakfast, a young couple whose love is blossoming, or a nurse who saves lives everyday, I’m with them all the way.
For the second time this year (the first was Deepwater Horizon) Mark Wahlberg shines in crisis mode. As officer/detective Tommy Saunders (a combination of Boston’s finest), Wahlberg delivers the lines of why Boston folks are strong, watch out for each other, and work together. His lines are heartfelt. After all, he went to school just 250 yards from the marathon finish line. Wahlberg is a master of crisis as Berg is with explosions—I hope they both keep them coming.
The film’s resolve includes several of those who lived to tell their story, stories of innocent people who gathered for a healthy, outdoor event turned tragedy. My thoughts were ranging from “God, I love the people of Boston” to “shoot the _______!” I realized that Patriots Day touched me in a reflective way. I questioned whether I would be as resilient as those who lost their leg(s) or a loved one? If I had the good fortune to escape the explosives, would I turn back to help those in need? Thankfully there were those who were unyielding in their determination to heal and to track down the bombers.