It was a tragedy that took the nation by storm back in April 2013. A city was imploded, three citizens lost their lives and several hundreds were left injured. The case of the Boston Marathon bombing is displayed in “Patriots Day,” as it highlights one of the most somber American tragedies in recent history. The chaotic aftermath of the bombing, with many lying on the ground, all the way until the capturing of a hostage is on display in a both intense yet detailed manner. It is here that many of the stories within the incident that were either not heard as much of or were not heard at all are being released to the world.
Our journey begins on April 14, 2013, the night prior to the event. The film then spans the next six days and shows different stories from the case. From the spectators at the event, to various members of law enforcement, specifically an officer of the Boston Police Department, Mark Wahlberg, trying to work his way back to his old position in the BPD. While many including Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, John Goodman, and FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, Kevin Bacon, look to discover and take down the bombers, the suspects, brothers Dzhohkhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, look to flee to New York for their next attack.
The film compares and contrasts greatly to the 2014 success “American Sniper.”. Both tell of emotional, fast-paced stories based on true events, but what links these films together is their delivery of these stories, featuring strong writing, moments of high intensity and execution. What makes this film stand out however, is that in “American Sniper,” there was only one gut-wrenching moment. In “Patriots Day,” the audience is drawn to four or five of these moments that will shock the audience.
The most significant aspect of the film was the pacing. Here that is both a good thing and a bad thing. This movie is very fast paced, similar to director Peter Berg’s other films “Lone Survivor” and “Deepwater Horizon.” In many instances, especially the intense aftermath of the bombings, this pacing is fitting and helps in recreating the scene. At the same time, scenes such as the standoff near the end of the film four or five individual characters and their individual perspectives are represented and the quick movement is very noticeable.
Another perfect example of the pacing is in the beginning of the film when the audience is introduced to a father and his child who are near the finish line waiting for the child’s mother to finish the race. After the bomb goes off, the father is awake and responsive, but is clearly affected. One of the members from the Boston Police Department takes the child away and the father is taken into an ambulance wondering where his son is. This happens in the first third of the film, and their story is not addressed for a large duration of the film.
While the pacing has its flaws, , there are many things that are praiseworthy about this film. First, the characters themselves are very fitting when it comes to casting choices, as Wahlberg, Goodman, Bacon and J.K. Simmons all play nicely into the plot of the film, and work well with what they are given. That being said, the writing for this film is incredibly adult and has tone that matches it very nicely. Like mentioned above, the intense scenes loaded with emotion are very well done and are in fitting places throughout the film.
“Patriots Day” is a film that I would recommend to anyone, especially those who are looking to learn more about the Boston Marathon bombing. The portrayals, the writing and many of the scenes are very well done and it shows throughout its duration. While the film does contain some gore and is very fast paced, it is a film that also beautifully illustrates a time in American history when citizens remained hopeful and came together as one. If you are looking for a fantastic, fast-paced film, look no further than “Patriots Day.”