Patriot’s Day, 15 April 2013, will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Americans, as the day which brought the vibrant city of Boston, Massachusetts to a halt just hours after the annual Boston Marathon; a day, which changed the lives of Boston citizens forever. However, despite the hurt, loss and suffering that they endured, Patriot’s Day 2013 will forever be remembered as a day which brought out the sheer strength and bond of Boston’s community.
Based on true events, Patriot’s Day, directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg, J.K Simmons, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon and Michelle Monaghan, recounts the events on 15 April 2013, dubbed the Boston Marathon Bombing, and the subsequent manhunt for the two men involved in the terrorist attack.
The film details the occurrences of the real life events almost to a T, opening with a peaceful look into the annual Boston Marathon, and event which garners crowds of Bostonians, and a brief introduction into the key characters of the film, including Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) and married couple Patrick Downes (Christopher O’Shea) and Jessica Kensky (Rachel Brosnahan). All appears well with the race, that is, until two explosions rip apart the street, hurtling it into chaos. What ensues is a massive effort to clear out the event, attend to as many of those injured and determine the culprits behind the heinous attack.
The portrayal of the event and the chaos which ensued was believable. The film did a fantastic job to downplay visual effects and focus on raw footage, taken at various camera angles to showcase the disaster as it truly was. Even soundtrack was whittled down to it’s bare bones to provide for the full effect of the devastation.
The manhunt and coordination between the Boston Police Department and FBI, headed by Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) was illustrated realistically and put forth the notion of stress and pressure when it comes to such investigations. The acting in this film is definitely praise worthy, not only for those who played the police and investigators but also to Themo Melikidze and Alex Wolff who played the Tsarnaev brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, respectively. The cruelty in their eyes and the belief that their actions were justified was evident in both actors’ performances. It was almost unnerving to watch the lack of humanity in their eyes as they carried out their attacks.
Depicting such a sensitive topic, on an event that impacted several lives, is not easy but Patriot’s Day does well to avoid being overzealous and handles the depiction of the Boston Marathon Bombing with respect. Watching the film certainly brought about an emotional reaction, especially for me, as I had visited Boston a year after the bombing and had walked past the very street where the explosions took place. Being shown on screen the very locations I had visited made the event all the more real to me. A feeling of disbelief fell over me as I realised “that could have happened when I was there”.
Patriot’s Day is an extremely well done retelling of an event that could have destroyed Boston but instead fostered a stronger bond within the city’s community and its faith in law enforcement. The conclusion of the film, which included accounts from the real life counterparts of the film’s characters, only added more emotions and a sense of disbelief that there are people in this world who are capable of such horrific acts. Nevertheless, the film ended with the important message of love conquering all; that despite the setbacks and heartache of such devastation, communities will stand together in strength and unity and will overcome whatever is thrown their way.
A touching, eye-opening film, which showcases the power of community in the face of terror, Patriot’s Day is a must watch.