“Patriots Day” is a touching tribute to real heroism

Go figure. Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg seem to bring out the very best in each other. Between Lone Survivor and now Patriots Day (Deepwater Horizon as well, to a lesser extent), the pair have found a niche in true life drama and heroism. This new film is their best yet, and actually one of 2016’s better works. It’s threatening to score a spot on my year end top ten list, which is something. Emotional, thrilling, and a seamless blend of history/action, this is a special movie. It deserves to find a large audience this week when it starts to hit theaters.

The film is a dramatized look at the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. In short, the events leading up to the terrorist attack and its aftermath are depicted, including the city-wide manhunt to find the people behind it. The protagonist is a composite character in Sargent Tommy Saunders (Wahlberg), but almost every other person is real, including Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons), Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon), and Governor Deval Patrick (Michael Beach). Also in the cast are the likes of Alex Wolff, Michelle Monaghan, Melissa Benoist, Jake Picking, Rachel Brosnahan, Christopher O’Shea, Themo Melikidze, Jimmy O. Yang, and Vincent Curatola, among others. Berg directs and co-writes with Matt Cook, Eric Johnson, Paul Tamasy, and Joshua Zetumer. Tobias A. Schliessler handles the cinematography, while the strong score comes from the duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Everyone pulls their weight, making for a great flick, across the board.

This is a really strong movie, through and through. From the ensemble cast to the direction to the score from Reznor and Ross, it all works. It manages to respectfully depict these true events while also making it a thrilling piece of entertainment. Berg is able to thread the needle, showing reverence and honoring the fallen, but at the same time filming it all in a very cinematic way. He deserves a lot of credit for upping his game here. Wahlberg too, who is able to fall into an ensemble quite well. As with Lone Survivor, real footage comes in the end, and I’m warning you…you will cry. That’s just a fact.

In terms of awards, Patriots Day is kind of a dark horse. There’s an effort being made in Best Picture, Best Director (for Berg), Best Actor (for Wahlberg), Best Supporting Actor (for Goodman and/or Simmons), Best Supporting Actress (for Monaghan), Best Original Screenplay (for Berg, Cook, Johnson, Tamasy, and Zetumer), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Original Score. There’s an outside chance of Picture and Original Screenplay happening, but the real possibility for a nomination comes in either Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, or Original Score. A shut out is just as likely, but frankly, that would be a real shame, especially considering how well done the sound/score is. We shall see what ends up happening to the film though.

Over the coming few days and weeks, Patriots Day will be emerging in theaters everywhere and is just tremendously good. Audiences should show up in sizable numbers for this one. Even if it doesn’t end up scoring any Oscar nominations, it’s just a really good film. The Academy Awards would be missing out if they snubbed the flick, but that’s almost besides the point right now. This is a movie to seek out and support, as Hollywood doesn’t often make them like this anymore. Whether it’s this week/weekend or as it expands, this is one give your hard earned time and money to. You won’t regret it…

Be sure to check out Patriots Day, starting its theatrical run in limited release today!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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