In case you haven’t heard of this movie before, Patriots Day is the movie about all of the real-life events that happened the day of the bombing of the Boston Marathon as well as the days following. It is directed by Peter Berg, who is now becoming well known for his portrayals of real-life events. His previous two films were Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon, all of which starred Mark Wahlberg.
So here’s the thing, I can’t pick out a single thing that Peter Berg and his team could’ve done differently that would’ve made this decisively better than it is. One of the few things that may be worth mentioning is the fact that nothing is really held back in this film to make it more watchable for slightly younger audiences. I was originally wondering why this movie was rated R when it would most likely gain larger box office success had it merited a PG-13 rating. After watching, it is clear that the R rating is well deserved. There is ample profanity and many gory images after the explosions that could be disturbing to younger viewers. I completely understand it, as it was a very disturbing and gruesome event, but I don’t think it is a suitable movie for kids under 16 or so.
The only other thing of note is about Mark Wahlberg’s character, Tommy Saunders. Unlike most of the characters in the film, Saunders is a composite character. The best way to describe a composite character is that it is a character in a true story that doesn’t represent a real person but rather a person that is inspired by the accounts of many real people involved in the event. When I found out that Saunders isn’t a real person I was a little disappointed but it did seem a little unlikely that a single man was in the right place at the right time for every single major development that happened throughout the event. I don’t really mind the use of a composite character in this instance because they don’t really credit his character with doing anything super crucial to the story. I just don’t understand why Peter Berg needed Wahlberg for his third movie in a row. It was literally a part that just about any middle-aged male actor could play.
Since watching this movie last night I have performed a rather extensive fact check into the events portrayed in the movie Patriots Day. Of course, I only had the use of the information that the government made public but I am still thoroughly impressed with how incredibly accurate it seems to be. Other than Saunders, every single character that the movie focused on was a real person and they were all consulted by Wahlberg and Berg so that their inspired characters were as accurate as they could be. From some of the people injured in the bombings, to the police officers, to the Tsarnaev brothers themselves and even David Ortiz’s F-bomb at Fenway after it was all over; it was all incredibly accurate. I love to see a movie that is so accurate to the actual events that they can remove the “Based on” when they tell you it’s a true story. As Berg has shown of late, many actual events don’t really need to be cinematically embellished to be exciting, and audiences tend to appreciate authenticity.
I absolutely LOVED how much footage from security cameras was incorporated into this film. They used actual footage of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev going to a store to get milk just 20 minutes after the bombs went off. More real footage was used when Dun Meng escaped the SUV in which he was being held hostage at a gas station, and when a helicopter using thermal imaging was circling the boat that Dzhokhar was hiding in. All of this real footage was incorporated so beautifully that it really looked like it could’ve been synthesized using the actors but knowing that it’s genuine just makes it so much cooler. Overall, I would say this movie was exciting, intense and action-packed but the most important component of all is by far its accuracy.
I genuinely enjoyed Patriots Day and am glad that I chose to start off 2017 with this movie. I think the biggest thing that it has going against it is the fact that it is way under-hyped. Seriously, no one seems to have heard much about this film. It deserves way more attention and hopefully, it will eventually get it. Peter Berg’s best film yet in my opinion.