Patriots Day

April 15, 2013


21 December 2016| No Comments on Patriots Day     by Sean Chavel


I had forgotten about some of the details of the Boston Marathon bombing, and I hadn’t realized I needed a film to refresh my memory. Other times, Patriots Day only sporadically told me information that I never knew (is this really though a complaint worth having?). Yet when Peter Berg’s film is at its most galvanizing, it hit me how insanely manic the week’s situation was at the time particularly to civilians who felt urgently unsafe. Berg gets the Boston culture, especially in its unrest and berserkness. Then the manhunt in the last third for the two terrorist brothers, is quite simply, a socio-political adrenaline pumper – it has the right pitch of mayhem, not overdone. Like “United 93,” the film adopts the verite, this is happening right now aesthetic, getting all the fury, the clumsiness, the dread, the spontaneity all at once.

The pot shots against the film are widely expressed. Mark Wahlberg as a fictional police officer on duty, at the finish line of the marathon, seems to arrive everywhere in the course of the next several days where “action” is happening. I have no problem with Wahlberg being in the film, albeit, it’s true, I wish he was in the film a little less. After awhile, I accepted him as a narrative guide, i.e., narrative moving piece. He’s featured, of course, to sell the film and help the marketing. I did feel the filmmakers fighting for ways not to make Wahlberg a predominant showcase and, to me, they come off exonerated. Ultimately, there are so many other assets that prevalently serve the film to allow myself to be bothered by Wahlberg, and honestly, it’s not like he does a bad acting job.

Patriots Day_Docudrama_Peter-Berg- Recommended 2016Berg superbly surveys a dozen or so different people in the beginning film tersely, not knowing how they fit into the day, and then surprisingly fleshing out their importance. Berg comes up with some persuasive rhetoric, however mindless, of the two terrorists-cum-cowards. It’s a juggling act by Berg. It’s also, again let’s not dismiss the film on ticky-tack flaws, quite an impressive and immersive docudrama that is eyes wide open aware that it was a tragedy on American soil that must not be forgotten.

Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, Michelle Monaghan make up the rest of the big names of the cast.

132 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “The French Connection” (1971); “United 93” (2006); “The Town” (2010); “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012).

Patriots Day_Underrated

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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