Based upon the dramatic real-life manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers, this powerful action-thriller follows Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) as he joins brave survivors, first responders, and investigators in a race against time to find the bombers before they strike again. Directed by Peter Berg and featuring a stellar cast, Patriots Day is a stirring tribute to the Boston community’s strength and courage in the face of adversity.

What We Thought:

Patriots Day is based on the events involving the Boston Marathon Bombing and the manhunt for the two terrorist brothers during the week. As a Bostonian who lived through that week, I can say the film is accurate to a degree, but they do take liberties with the story.

The biggest difference between the film and the actual events is Mark Wahlberg’s character. Mark’s character is an amalgamation. His character is fictional compared to others in the film. They use his central character to tie in the events from the actual bombing near the finish line to the Watertown shoot-out and eventual capture of the youngest brother.

I understand why they did it even if those in New England disagree with it. It’s a movie, it would feel weird if the movie was just scenes put together involving characters who don’t have any connection to one another. You need that one character to tie the pieces together to finish your three act storyline that most films rely on. Plus let’s be honest, if you weren’t in Massachusetts or don’t know anyone from Massachusetts during that time period, you won’t know any different either.

As someone who lived through that week and covered the events, the film did hit me like it should have. Director Peter Berg does a good job humanizing the brothers, showing you that they were assimilated into the American culture. They weren’t typical “terrorists” like we stereotype. The youngest was in college, the oldest had a wife and child. These were guys you saw at Starbucks.

I was hoping the film would be more about the survivors and how they dealt with the tragic event and less about the actual bombing and the shoot-out. I think the survivors make for a better story, but it’s Hollywood, they want an action film that people outside of New England can understand. It’s not a Michael Bay blow’em up, but there’s still action that those who were there in real life might have a hard time reliving.

I think Patriots Day handles the Boston Marathon Bombing as well as it can. It does one thing really great though, something we need in this day and age, it makes our police force look good. That week, a state along with its police force, FBI, CIA, and everyone involved in politics joined together and captured two brothers who wanted to tear down this country. For one week cops were good people to everyone involved. The movie shows that and we needed to be reminded of that.


Bonus Features:

  • “Boston Strong: True Stories of Courage” Vignettes
  •  “The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale” Featurette
  • “The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes’ Stories” Featurette
  • “The Cast Remembers” Featurette
  • “Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts: A 2-Part Series”

Cast & Crew:

  • Mark Wahlberg
  • John Goodman
  • J. K. Simmons
  • Michelle Monaghan
  • Kevin Bacon
  • Melissa Benoist
  • Peter Berg

Recommended If You Like:

  • Lone Survivor
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • Mark Wahlberg

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