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Patriots Day Review

By Matthew Passantino

'Patriots Day' is Thrilling, Respectful

We all remember where we were on that day in April 2013. I was at work during the breaking news coverage when the explosions first went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and later in a restaurant, where everyone fell silent because we were glued to CNN. In "Patriots Day," director Peter Berg brings us back to those tragic days in tense and thrilling fashion.

Only three years have passed since two brothers altered the lives of so many, and many moviegoers might not be ready to relive the heinous and senseless attack. Berg treats the material carefully and respectfully but not without relishing in some of the more visceral moments of action, as he often likes to do.

This is his third collaboration with Mark Wahlberg, who stars as Sgt. Tommy Saunders. After the great "Lone Survivor" and the much less great "Deepwater Horizon," Berg and Wahlberg are quickly conquering the docudrama market.

"Patriots Day" starts as you have come to expect; Wahlberg kisses his wife (Michelle Monaghan) goodbye and leaves to save the day. He's stationed at the finish line of the Boston Marathon - much to his chagrin - watching as all of the runners finish. A few hours into the race, an explosion goes off and then another.


We know what happens next and Berg does a good job incorporating all of the key moments that took place in the nationwide manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers (played by Alex Wolff and Themo Malikidze). John Goodman, Kevin Bacon and J.K. Simmons round out the ensemble cast as various law enforcement officials who aided in the hunt for the bombers.

"Patriots Day" is very much a basic procedural but Berg stages such intense moments of action that you'll be on the edge of your seat, even though you already know how it all ends. I've not always been a fan of Berg, or his indulgences, but when my heart was racing during scenes where I knew the outcome, I knew I was seeing a pretty great film.

Berg has fun with the actions scenes but rightfully doesn't make "Patriots Day" about the explosions and shootouts. The key to this film is showing the widespread effort that went into brining the deranged brothers to justice. No one person saved the day. From the FBI agent in charge to an everyday citizen at home, many played a hand in justice.

"Patriots Day" is likely to awaken the feelings you experienced while watching these events unfold over three years ago: the anger for the bombers, the sadness for the victims and the respect for the responders. Whether you should see the movie or not is wholly dependent on if you are ready to feel all of those at once again. But if you are, this film won't let you down.

What did you think?

Movie title Patriots Day
Release year 2016
MPAA Rating R
Our rating
Summary "Patriots Day" is a thrilling and respectful film, detailing the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath.
View all articles by Matthew Passantino
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