Release date: January 13, 2016
This movie falls into a weird genre I like to call “Disaster Porn”. In that genre are many categories. Examples include: Natural Disaster, Sci-fi World Event, Large Scale Super Villain, Event Specific War Movie and this one Based on a True Story.
I enjoy this genre for reasons that will probably label me an oblivious millennial, but oh well. I find that I’ve heard about incidents, especially the recent ones, but I don’t really know any of the details. The movie helps to make me aware of the gravity of these real life events and makes me more aware. They naturally have a sense of drama knowing they actually happened, but when the movie version is well acted and well made it adds to the impact that story leaves on me.
Patriots Day follows the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, from the day before to the capture of the second bomber from the boat in a Watertown backyard.
Patriots Day had a good balance of focusing on the people (the victims and the first responders), on the actions, and on the facts and chronology. They did a great job of blending those three together. The character development created a depth that movies like this sometimes lack. From the start we are introduced to a variety of characters that we don’t know the significance of exactly. As the events play out on-screen those characters enter the story line. The film makers made a smart choice to introduce them all at the beginning of the picture because when we do meet them, we care about them.
*SPOILER ALERT* For example we meet a young MIT cop in the beginning. We see him flirt with a girl, hanging out with his buddies and we care about him. We know his name. Then later, when the bombers are attempting to leave Boston for New York they see this cop sitting in his car on campus and try to steal his gun. He puts up a fights and ends up getting shot and dying. Sad. *END SPOILER ALERT* If the filmmakers had just told this story chronologically, just for the facts, the audience wouldn’t have reacted the way they did.
I do think this picture has some timely significance as well. It is a very pro-cop movie. Not in a way as to put down any other part of society, but to show the risk and impact of a job like that. It also shows the sense of community in Boston and how that bond can make all the difference. Possibly even more timely was its statement about Muslims.
This is just what I inferred from the movie, I’m not trying to state any opinions. If you’ve heard about this tragedy at all you know the bombers were Muslim, but what the writers really emphasized was that Tamerlan Tsarnev’s wife was a privileged white girl who grew up in America and converted to Islam after meeting her husband. Then they both radicalized. Perhaps to say it’s not just the people who come into this country, but anybody.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It has entertainment value and it was well made, nothing critically astounding, but compelling to watch. Good acting throughout, especially to Themo Melikidze and Alex Wolff who play Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, respectively. Those types of roles can be career defining, and I’m not sure in a good way. I hope for them that their talent shines through. Some of the smaller roles were played by some pretty big names (i.e. Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, JK Simmons)……they kinda felt like fancy cameos.
Oh and Mark Wahlberg is at his Mark Wahlberg-iest.