Title – Patriots Day (2016)
Director – Peter Berg (Hancock)
Cast – Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, J.K Simmons, Michelle Monaghan, Alex Wolff
Plot – Examines the day of and aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as the city struggles to comprehend what has happened as authorities attempt to track down the terrorists that carried out the brutal attacks.
“The clock is ticking, the world is watching”
Review by Eddie on 09/02/2017
Ever since his cracking 2004 debut in the form of Friday Night Lights actor turned director Peter Berg has found himself becoming the new master of delivering solid if unremarkable thrillers.
Each varying in success, after 2004 has passed Berg has put his name to the likes of The Kingdom, Hancock, Lone Survivor, Battleship and last year’s surprisingly effective Deepwater Horizon and seemingly unable to withhold from the lure of working Sir Mark Wahlberg (who is rather dry in his role here) once again, we now have Patriot’s Day which was released mere months after Deepwater Horizon in what seems like a hope the patriotic film had a chance to compete at this year’s awards circuit.
That Patriots Day failed to score much traction during the awards season is not surprising and that it failed to capture the American public’s interest in regards to box office takings also isn’t curious upon examination as this solid but instantly forgettable film about an horrific true life event that is anything but does lack a certain magic that would’ve made it a far more emotionally engaging experience.
Moving at a cracking pace and covering lots of various true to life characters that we barely get to know, Patriots Day does a great job at placing the audience into the day that changed the city of Boston forever but it never truly captures our hearts despite Berg’s attempt to draw out easy emotional wins throughout the film whether it be Wahlberg’s police officer Tommy Saunders attempts at emotionally charged speeches or scenes of kindly police officers minding the bodies of the deceased.
What Patriots Day does well though is offers fantastic insights to what occurred in the aftermath of these horrific terrorist acts as we are drawn into the investigation and therefore sucked into the tension that not only gripped the city but the world as those that were responsible for the acts of unprovoked violence walked free amongst the everyday civilians that were living their lives in a constant state of fear and terror. Berg gives Patriots Day an almost documentary like vibe and from the moment the bombs erupt, Patriots Day barely stops to take a breath as the next 4 – 5 days play out before our eyes.
Filled with fine supporting turns by an underused A-list cast that includes John Goodman, Kevin Bacon and J.K Simmons, Patriots Day is pro-Americana mixed with an insightful retelling of a moment in time that will always be remembered. Berg might not be hitting high marks, but this is another worthwhile film from the director that is worth your time, even if it’s unlikely to be one that sticks with you after the credits have rolled.
3 blueberry muffins out of 5
What would you say about the depiction of Islam in the film? I haven’t seen it myself but, from the trailers, it seemed to demonize the faith in what’s become a Hollywood norm of otherization. In fact, we analyzed the way Muslims were presented in the trailer as part of an activity in a course I teach on Islam. So I’m intrigued to hear the opinion of someone who saw the film. Was the presentation of Islam/Muslims as bad as it appeared?
It was quite bad mate, a very “American” way of looking at it all I felt. You didn’t get much background on them really, even though they seemed like two very troubled individuals it never really showcased what drove them to become such monstrous creations.
Thank you – that’s exactly what I was worried about. Siiigh…another propaganda piece in regard to demonizing/trivializing Islam. I appreciate your insight!
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