“Patriots Day” stars Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons, and Michelle Monaghan. Released in limited theaters on December 21, 2016, followed by a wide release on January 13, 2017, the film is about a sergeant who joins a manhunt to search for the suspects responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings.
The film is directed by Peter Berg, who also directed films such as The Rundown, Hancock, Lone Survivor, and Deepwater Horizon. It also marks the third collaboration between Berg and Wahlberg. Since the film was released first in 2016, this will count as my 2016 review. Even though 2016 wasn’t a very good year for us, it certainly was a great year for Peter Berg, as he directed two very remarkable films in one year: Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day. Based on what I saw, Berg is the kind of director who knows how to make films as realistic and intense as the events that they’re based on. This film is no different, as it not only focuses on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, but also the manhunt afterwards, and like Deepwater Horizon, Berg delivered a thrilling experience while also paying respect to the heroes of the American tragedy.
Mark Wahlberg leads a strong cast as Sergeant Tommy Saunders, who is one of the characters whose lives were impacted from the Marathon bombings. What I love about this film is how these actors portray their characters like they’re real people. Real people who were involved in both the tragedy and the manhunt. The tragedy part is something that I expected in terms of Berg’s direction and the film’s realistic injury images, but the manhunt part is where stuff gets real. Sure, it has its usual action thriller cliches, but Berg knows how to make those cliches blend in with its grounded narrative and its superb uses of intensity. Once again, Berg did a great job at keeping me engaged without losing momentum. This film also shows that these people never give up on searching for the terrorists, and that love and bravery always triumph over fear. It does feel a bit preachy at times, but in most cases, it works.
Overall, “Patriots Day” is an edge-of-your-seat action thriller that greatly displays heroism, bravery, and heart. With its strong cast, its intense and grounded narrative, and a message that truthfully screams “Never let fear win!”, I would say that this is Peter Berg’s best film in his career. If you’re a fan of Lone Survivor and Deepwater Horizon, you’ll love this film as well. If you need some inspiration in your life as well as something that will get your heart pumping, then this one may be for you.