If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about America, it’s that they love to make movies about America. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just see a pattern. Regarding Patriots Day, all I’d heard was rave reviews from all around, so naturally, I was more than excited to see it. I actually purchased it on Bluray before seeing it for the first time… because I like to take risks like that. To say that I’m unhappy I did would be a lie as I very much enjoyed it.
I actually really like Mark Wahlberg in this film, where I normally am not a huge fan. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie and been left thinking, “Wow, you go Mark Wahlberg!” since… Four Brothers in 2005. I wasn’t necessarily in awe of his performance this time around, but he played his role convincingly enough that I wasn’t taken out of the story by the fact that they used a big-name actor, and that’s something.
Patriots Day really managed to take a story that I, for one, was already pretty familiar with, including the ending, and make it something suspenseful and keep me on my toes. That’s a feat that I think is difficult to accomplish when you’re taking a true (and widely televised) event and making it into a dramatic film. Even though I knew the final outcome, I’m glad it kept the tension coming.
My boyfriend’s first thoughts upon starting the film were, “oh, I hope they don’t spend too much time leading up to the actual bombing,” and his wish was granted! They cut to the chase, but still managed to make it effectively jarring and uncomfortable. They didn’t go overboard with gore, they didn’t make it more or less than it actually was… it was done very well.
The only real complaint with this film, and it’s a semi-large one, was that I didn’t really feel any emotional ties to the characters. I wasn’t particularly attached to Wahlberg’s character, Sergeant Tommy Saunders, and, while obviously I had sympathy for them, I just wasn’t drawn to them the way I usually am. It’s not a difficult thing to get me to be attached to a fictional character either, so I’m not sure if it was maybe a writing flaw or a directorial flaw, or maybe even Wahlberg’s portrayal. I just didn’t feel it!
Patriots Day did, however, succeed in giving more context to a documentary I watched a while ago entitled, The Thread (it’s on Netflix) about the Reddit thread which was basically a mass gathering of vigilante manhunters trying to find out who bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013. While I’d give Patriots Day a solid 75%, I think I’d almost prefer The Thread.