MOVIE REVIEW: Patriots Day

In Movies, Reviews by Matthew Pionk4 Comments


Bottom Line Up Front: this movie took me through the full gamut of emotions and I did cry.

I went into the screening of Patriots Day, the Peter Berg directed film starring Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon and J.K. Simmons, depicting the events leading up to, during and following the Boston Marathon bombing in April of 2013, with discontent. It may be that the memories of the events shown in this film have barely scabbed over or it may be my general disdain for Mark Wahlberg. I can assure you both were quickly cast aside by what now has set the bar for my Movie of the Year 2017.

Hopefully the historical nature of this movie will serve enough as a spoiler alert as it picks up with a Boston cop Tommy Saunders(Wahlberg) working his way back into the good graces of BPD commissioner Ed Davis(Goodman)by working the finish line detail of the 2013 Boston Marathon.  After two separate explosions detonate near the finish we are jettisoned into the heart pounding and chilling man-hunt. Director Berg then uses a platoon of characters, including Saunders, to step movie goers through the monumental task of compiling, analyzing and mobilizing efforts to bring down the bombers before future attacks can be executed.

With such a delicate (and fresh) subject matter to translate, Patriots Day enters in as a shining example of cinematography. At opening act builds perfectly, introducing us to various (and I apologize in advance for using a marginalized term for actual human beings)plot devices and characters that ultimately unfold into a carefully orchestrated telling of the days surrounding the Boston Marathon.  Where this film truly shines is Berg’s ability to inject subtle(and even chuckle inducing)humor during even the most dramatic sequences of the movie all while not distracting from the gravity of the events on screen. Playing a Boston police officer comes effortlessly to Mark Wahlberg with stellar supporting performances from Kevin Bacon as the methodical Special Agent Richard DesLauriers and John Goodman as Commissioner Ed Harris. One of my personal favorite points of the film was delivered by J.K. Simmons during the pursuit of the bombing suspects as he played his characters heroic acts in calm, collected fashion, even offering pointed one-liners resulting in an eruption of belly laughs. Even more so than the Oscar deserving performances delivered, the testimonials from survivors and the real life characters portrayed offers a humanizing and moving closure to the film.

With the reality of the world we live in, the events that the film is rooted in still haunt most Americans (and the world abroad) just as strongly today as they did the day they transpired. For Peter Berg to masterfully guide his narrative with such precision and compassion- to the survivors, city of Boston, and everyone effected by the heinous actions of the Tsarnaev brothers –this film’s powerful message offers a firm reminder of the resilience of the American spirit to endure during tragedy.

With award winning performances from Wahlberg, Goodman, Bacon and Simmons, and moving tribute to the first responders, medical professionals, and survivors, Patriots Day is a must watch for 2017. It opens nationwide January 13, 2017. It is also worth mentioned the charity campaign (which can be found here:

The Patriots Day Charity Campaign is a nonprofit initiative that will empower people across the country to honor the city of Boston and the first responders, medical professionals and survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.