This review was written by Anthony J Digioia. Follow him and his website here for more awesome reviews: SilverScreen Analysis
“Patriots Day” follows the tragic events that took place on April 15 of 2013 and even more so, covers the days that followed. The manhunt that took place, the resources needed to pull the investigation together in such short time. The pressure on them from all media attention, as well as how this tragedy rocked the nation, but more so, the city of Boston.
It is clear Peter Berg has found his niche, and he is making it his own. This is the third film where he covers a real-life event. “Lone Survivor” and “Deepwater Horizon” were captivating movies, but with “Patriots Day” Berg shows he is only getting better in this genre.
This was a riveting telling of this story. It was gut-wrenching at times, it completely pulled my attention in from start-to-finish, and was as emotionally engaging as a film can get. Something that I think was pulled off by sticking to the facts, not trying to glamorize this tragedy for the sake of film-making, and spending the time needed to get the information as accurate as possible.
In my opinion the way Berg told this story, and put this movie together, showed a desire to teach the audience about what happened on this day, and the days following. It always seemed to be the focus, as the scenes followed the time-line of events and always made it clear who the characters were in regards to the real-life story of events.
I thought the way Berg shot the explosions during the marathon were perfect, and never felt overdone. The camerawork pulls you into the chaos of it all, to really grasp the magnitude of the blasts and how devastating it really was in such a congested area. It was a horrible tragedy that I think this film captures, as just that.
I also thought the film conveyed how it fueled the rest of the events that took place after and the massive manhunt that went underway. This movie captured how the blast rocked the entire city and effectively portrayed the days that followed and the resources, the bravery, the determination, and honestly blind luck, that came into assisting in the capture of these two guys.
The acting was great from top-to-bottom. Mark Wahlberg comes in with one of, if not the best performance of his career. He fits the role perfectly with his real-life Boston roots, but regardless, he was excellent in this role. I think the first time in his career, made me forget I was watching Mark Wahlberg at times which is something to say.
Kevin Bacon was excellent, John Goodman was as well, and Michelle Monaghan made the most out of a very small role. J.K. Simmons did the same with his small part, but really is was the cast as a whole that really helped make this such a realistic retelling of this tragedy.
Also, for the sake of not mispronouncing one of their names I will just say the two actors who played the brothers were amazing. They were able to re-create some incredibly tense moments with precision. These two felt like brothers, felt like the characters they were playing, and they develop their relationship with one another, with impressive results. Despite all the big names in this movie, it was these two guys that made it as realistic as it turned out to be. Much like Barkhad Abdi did with his performance in “Captain Phillips”.
Now I am sure some things may have been changed here and there, but I remember this tragedy and followed it on the news, like many of you probably did since this was only a handful of years ago. So, as I watched this movie, it was able to fill in some pieces of information, and re-tell many things I had read or seen on the news, and from start-to-finish the attention to detail is present.
I definitely recommend watching this film. It was perfectly crafted. Berg seamlessly weaves in archival footage and at times it’s tough to tell what was real and what was his film. Something that in the end made this such a fascinating and also very sad movie to watch.