Patriots Day was so moving, that when the film was over, a number of people in the theater were openly crying. The final scenes in the film are interviews with the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Some of these people had lost limbs and others mourned the death of loved ones. All of the victims spoke of hope and courage and love. Not a single one had a message of hatred or revenge.
We had not actually planned on seeing Patriots Day. We we going to watch another movie, but when we got to theater the projector showing our movie was broken. Patriots Day was the only other movie playing at the same time, so we got tickets for it. The reason we did not plan on seeing Patriots Day was that we were afraid that it would be too exploitative. After all, the Boston Marathon bombing was on April 15, 2013. It seemed too soon to make a movie about it. The wounds were perhaps too fresh to be reopened.
However, Patriots Day is not at all exploitative. It follows the events of the bombing and brings to life the tension, terror and courage of the people of Boston. Like many Americans, we were aware of the basic facts, but did not know all of the details.
The courage of many individuals was amazing. There was Dun Meng (played by Jimmy O. Yang). He is a young Chinese businessman living in Boston, who was car-jacked by the bombers at gunpoint. After being driven around and threatened repeatedly, he was able to escape from the car and call the police. Most people would have been paralyzed with fear, but somehow Dun Meng had the nerve to open the door and run, when six inches away sat a man with a gun.
Sean Collier (played by Jake Picking) was an MIT police officer killed by the bombers who were trying to get his gun. Despite being shot multiple times, he never gave up the gun and the bombers had to flee without it.
There was one very shocking act after the bombing. The younger bomber’s college roommates recognized his picture on T.V. Instead of immediately calling the police to say they knew the bomber, they hid items from his dorm room that would have implicated him in the crime. They later received between 3 and 6 years in prison for obstructing the investigation. That does not seem nearly a long enough punishment.
Patriots Day could have been improved slightly by focusing less on Mark Wahlberg. He plays Tommy Saunders, a fictional character who is a compilation of numerous Boston Police officers. The problem with combining all those officers into one character is that it made him too much of a Superman. In the movie, Tommy Saunders was at the finish line when the bombs went off. He also met with Dun Meng, and helped the FBI and was at two separate shootouts with the bombers. The movie would have been better if the director had used a number of different actors, instead of making this such a star vehicle for Mark Wahlberg.
However, in total, Patriots Day is a great film. It is much too intense for children, and be warned that even many adults will find parts hard to watch. The film intersperses actual news and surveillance camera footage into the movie, so at some points you feel as if you are watching the events in real time.
Patriots Day is a tribute to all the people of Boston, and they deserve it.
- We give Patriots Day Four Stars ****
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- read our true story, Dusty Cars – a 9/11 story